First, Joanna pretends not to remember Marni. Then the interloper proceeds to usurp her position with the family dog and grandmother (reliable Betty White). Although PR exec Marni teaches her assistants that public relations is the art of not reacting to provocation, privately she is easily provoked. Merely the sight of Joanna makes the confident Marni tremble with insecurity.
Maybe it's genetic. Because Marni's mother (Curtis) and Joanna's aunt (Weaver) turn out to be former high school antagonists who regress to lethal competitiveness when they see each other for the first time in 35 years.
The film is an extended series of catfights with Marni and Joanna as the main event and Marni's mother and Joanna's aunt as the undercard. While it has a belated third-act plea for conflict resolution, it comes too late.
Ordinarily, I would shrug off the film from Andy Fickman (director of the charming She's the Man) as a product of Hollywood sexism. However, the script comes from female screenwriter Moe Jelline, who may be the only person left in America who thinks it's funny when female characters fall on their faces for no other reason than to make them less threatening to males in the audience. What men are going to see this movie marketed for women only?
Like Bride Wars, the contrived You Again purveys conflict in order to spin it into a "growing experience." The dominator is humiliated into humility and the doormat stands up for herself by wiping her feet on others. What a waste of talented actresses.
Contact movie critic Carrie Rickey at 215-854-5402 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read her blog, "Flickgrrl," at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/