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Film / You Again

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You Again is a 2010 comedy film directed by Andy Fickman and starring Kristen Bell, Jamie Lee Curtis, Sigourney Weaver, Odette Yustman (she hadn't changed her last name to Annable then), Betty White, Victor Garber, and Kristin Chenoweth.

When former high school loser Marni Olsen (Bell) realizes that her older brother is about to marry her high school bully Joanna (Yustman), she sets out to expose the fiancée's true colors. Things get out of hand when it turns out that her mom Gail (Curtis) and the bride's aunt Ramona (Weaver) are in a similar situation.

You Again provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Actor Allusion: Catherine Bach plays Daisy.
  • Alpha Bitch: Joanna, formerly.
  • The Atoner: Joanna is genuinely ashamed of how she behaved in high school and spent years trying to compensate for it, but having to directly deal with Marni made her panic and claim to not remember her at all.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Will is very protective of Marni, and even offers himself to solve all of her issues if she just gives him the names of the girls who bullied her. He also breaks off his engagement to Joanna as soon as he sees how she treated Marni in high school.
  • Blasphemous Boast: In Joanna's time capsule video, true to her character, she boasts to the camera "The meek shall not inherit the Earth". This comes back to bite her when a meek Joanna (who Took a Level in Kindness in the years since) has her engagement broken off by Will.
  • Book Ends: Gail and Ramona's friendship was ruined and years later rebuild in a pool.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: Simultaneously, both sides are wrong. Joanna shouldn't have just assumed that, if they would ignore what happened in high school, things would be okay and they could start again, not that Marni's decision to publicly shame her for the person she was in high school instead of attempting to look for a way to solve the issue with discretion and dignity was any better.
  • The Bride with a Past: Marni realizes her brother is about to marry the Alpha Bitch who made her life miserable in high school.
  • Bullying the Dragon: It's pretty unwise of Joanna to belittle and refuse to apologize to Marni (her former victim), especially when the latter just so happens to be the sister of her fiance. Later, Marni makes good on her resolve to make Joanna regret her choices.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Played with. When Joanna first meets Marni as Marni's future sister-in-law, she seemingly doesn't recognize or remember Marni in the slightest. Later when Marni confronts her in private, Joanna shows that she remembers perfectly and is unrepentant, dismissive, and condescending. Later, after Marni blows up the wedding rehearsal by exposing Joanna's lies, Joanna admits to Marni that she really is sorry and only invoked the trope because she was terrified of the fact that she was marrying the brother of her former victim.
  • Butt-Monkey: Marni, throughout the film, she suffers the most humiliation and Amusing Injuries as well as gets Covered in Mud and lard.
  • The Cameo: Dwayne Johnson, uncredited, as the Air Marshal on Marni's plane; and Cloris Leachman (also uncredited) as Helen. And, of course, Hall And Oates perform at the end. Also Patrick Duffy as Ramona's high school crush (grown up, of course).
  • Cool Uncle: Ramona to Joanna. At one point, Ramona confesses that Joanna is the only thing resembling a family she has.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: If Joanna had just apologized to Marni from the start, they really could have started over like she said she wanted. The blame for the mess is not one sided, however. Marni could have just as easily confronted Joanna in private rather than go on the Roaring Rampage of Revenge that she did and get the apology she wanted in a quiet and dignified manner
  • Cringe Comedy: Try to watch the scene where Tim gives a speech at the wedding recital without cringing. I dare you.
  • Dance Party Ending: It's a romantic comedy with a wedding climax, of course it will show the reception over the end credits.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The scene in the kitchen after the wedding is ruined, until revealed to be otherwise, is shot to make the audience feel like the ex-bride-to-be is about to commit suicide after the wedding is ruined.
  • Establishing Character Moment: After a lengthy flashback of her Extreme Doormat past, we see Marni's developed (over)defensive streak in the present rather quickly, angrily snapping at two individuals who try to browbeat her quiet in a plane.
  • Evil Is Easy: Implied. In her video, Joanna's younger self boasts about how high school is "so easy". How? Why by being top dog and using the position to make everyone's lives miserable, just like she does. As she so puts it, "it's better to be bad". This is deconstructed, however, as Joanna not only regrets this mindset in the long run, but has to face consequences in the form of Will calling off the wedding.
  • Fairy Tale Motifs: An Aesop called "The Cat and Venus". A cat (Joanna) prayed to Venus (Marni) to change her into a woman (pretend their past never happened) so she could be with a man (Will). Venus initially allows the cat her wish, but suspects the cat hasn't really changed all that much. She sends a mouse (drops hints about Joanna's past) to test the cat, and the cat-turned-woman chases it (sings "We are the Champions"). Venus is offended to see that the cat hasn't truly changed. And so, she changes the woman back into a cat before the man's eyes (Sabotages the reception, via Tim's speech and Joanna's time capsule video.)
  • Foreshadowing: A meta example. In the poster, Bunny is shown among the other still vengeful women over high school issues, the end shows that she herself still has beef with a former classmate and cheerleader Helen.
  • Forgiveness: Played with. At first, it's clear that Marni would have every good reason to not want to forgive Joanna, especially when the latter keeps trying to sweep the past under the rug and act like it wasn't a big deal. Ultimately, once a humbled Joanna acknowledges the pain she'd caused Marni and that she's genuinely sorry for everything she did, Marni finally finds the closure to truly let go of the past.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Marni Olivia Olsen. M.O.O. Unfortunately, Joanna used that to bully Marni back in high school.
  • Generation Xerox: Played with. Marni was a dork in school and Joanna was the Alpha Bitch. While the same situation applies to Gail and Ramona, it was Gail who was the popular one and Ramona who was always left in the dust. For Grandma Bunny, see Here We Go Again!.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Ramona. Most of her actions spark from jealousy towards Gail. Gail got everything Ramona ever wanted easily by being the most popular girl in high school. This sparked again when, after meeting her again, Ramona realizes that Gail has a successful marriage and a family, something she could never have.
  • Here We Go Again!: Grandma Bunny turns out to be an old rival of Joanna's grandma Helen.
  • I Hate Past Me: Joanna with regards to her past as an Alpha Bitch bully.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Gail genuinely had no idea all her accomplishments throughout high school left Ramona feeling stuck in her shadow and that Ramona’s crush asked her to prom.
  • I Want You to Meet an Old Friend of Mine: Grandma Bunny, played by Betty White, has an old high school rival of her own in Helen, played by Cloris Leachman. They had worked together on The Mary Tyler Moore Show.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: She already wasn't proud of her past as a bully, but seeing herself caught on film violently shoving Marni and gloating about it is what really opens Joanna's eyes to just how badly she had treated Marni in the past and drives her to genuinely apologize.
  • Never Be Hurt Again: After graduation, Marni moved to another town to attend college and work in and radically reinvented herself from an Extreme Doormat geek to a more glamorous and assertive (if not downright aggressive) woman, all so that she would never be a victim of bullies like Joanna again.
  • Never My Fault: Joanna causes issues from this tendency:
    • One of Joanna's cruelest acts of bullying in the past was pushing Marni into her brother during a fateful throw in a basketball match, and then chewing her out for ruining the game. Overlaps with No Sympathy, since it's implied everyone else blamed Marni as well despite the obvious.
    • In the present, despite her desire to prove she has changed for the better, she stubbornly refuses to acknowledge and apologize for her wrongdoings towards Marni, which she later reasons was because she thought it would be better to just leave it all in the past and start over.
  • Only Sane Man: Marni's father, who unleashes a withering "The Reason You Suck" Speech on his wife and daughter after their escalating antics seemed to tear the wedding weekend apart.
  • Pet the Dog: Joanna's apology is what finally cements her Heel–Face Turn.
  • Reformed Bully: Played with. Joanna is not a bully any longer, she has no intention of mistreating Marni as they meet again and genuinely does want to put the past behind them. However, she does this by acting like what happened back in high school was not that big a deal, much to Marni's consternation.
  • Reformed, but Rejected: Joanna, though she re-Took a Level in Jerkass partway through the movie. She reforms after her wedding is called off, and this time, it sticks.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Joanna admits to Marni that, at least partially, the love she receives from Marni's family seems to come from the fact that they miss Marni.
  • Review Ironic Echo: Roger Ebert couldn't resist beginning his review, "Oh no, not You Again."
  • Rule of Pool: The conflict between Gail and Ramona started when the latter pushed the former to a pool during prom. They reconstructed their friendship after falling to the pool after their catfight.
  • School Bullying Is Harmless: Subverted and deconstructed. The bullying Joanna put Marni through deeply hurt Marni to the point that she moved away from their hometown as soon as she got the chance and drastically reinvented herself so as to never experience that pain again. When they finally confront each other years later, Marni directly states that Joanna can't just brush off her actions just because they happened in high school because the bullying did a great deal of lasting damage to Marni's mental health and self-image.
  • Schoolyard Bully All Grown Up: Played with - Joanna was an Alpha Bitch who constantly tormented Marni in their school years, but then became a Reformed Bully who genuinely wants to put the past behind them and start over fresh. However, throughout the movie, she tries to play off everything as not being that big of a deal, which angers Marni because for her, it was a big deal.
  • Smug Snake: Probably why teenage Joanna thought it was a good idea to bully Marni in front of the camera and bitterly advertise "It's better to be bad" was because she was certain at the time that nobody would see the video for 50 years. How wrong she was.
  • Sure, Let's Go with That: When Will blames the collapsing treehouse on termites, Marni and her brother don't try to explain the truth.
  • Teens Are Monsters: Joanna certainly was, and her friends back her up. Will was an aversion, he was a good guy both in school and later in life.
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: After becoming increasingly infuriated by Marni not letting her Alpha Bitch past go, Joanna reverts to her catty ways towards her. Cue the catfight.
  • Title Drop: Played for Laughs several times in the plot.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Joanna, though it takes Marni the entire movie to realize it's genuine.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Marni does some low things trying to get back at Joanna, and Joanna herself regresses to her former Alpha Bitch personality partway through the movie.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Gail and Ramona. They got better.
  • Worst Wedding Ever: Played with. The reception is the worst ever, as Marni uses it to not only expose how Joanna was previously engaged to Tim, but also the video tape documenting her bully-some past. Ironically, the wedding itself goes swimmingly well, even though it takes place at the hospital where she and Will are recupperating.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Marni uses this to assure that Will would stop running and come talk to her.