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YOU AGAIN (U, 101 mins) Comedy/Romance. Kristen Bell, Odette Yustman, Jamie Lee Curtis, Sigourney Weaver, James Wolk, Victor Garber, Billy Unger, Betty White, Kristin Chenoweth. Director: Andy Fickman.

IF ASPIRING directors could learn their craft by a process similar to painting-by-numbers, then You Again would be the starter kit.

Distinguished by its clumsy, linear narrative and a directorial style that is the cinematic equivalent of a weary sigh, Andy Fickman's romantic comedy is irredeemably cliched and trite. The film gradually sucks the life out of his cast and eventually out of us too.

Marni (Kristen Bell) returns home to California to attend the wedding of her brother, Will (James Wolk).

En route, her mother Gail (Jamie Lee Curtis) reveals that Will's blushing bride-to-be is none other than the very same Joanna (Odette Yustman) who made her high school years a misery.

Except that rather than being the sneering bully of old, Joanna has reinvented herself as an earthbound angel and do-gooder, who has her in-laws wrapped around her little finger.

Determined to prevent Will from making the biggest mistake of his life, Marni vows to expose Joanna as a fraud.

Meanwhile, Gail has an unresolved conflict of her own: Joanna's aunt Ramona (Sigourney Weaver), who was her best friend at high school until they fell out over a boy.

First time screenwriter Moe Jelline doesn't have the skill yet to walk this emotional tightrope and he stumbles towards one of those resolutions that ensures every character exits with a smile on their face.

Bell is a gifted comic actress and she makes Marni both vulnerable and likeable while Curtis hams it up a treat opposite Weaver in her broadest comic role for years.

But we're filing for divorce from Fickman's film well before the end credits roll.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:1U9CA
Date:Nov 12, 2010
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