What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that although this wedding comedy is about rivalries among women, it's quite family-friendly (if not exactly hilarious). There's no swearing (just insults like "loser"), overt sexuality or suggestiveness (just a few kisses and mild flirting), or consumerism (the featured brands are fictional). You'll see plenty of pratfalls and physical comedy, but nothing that feels "violent." Families looking for something without all the strong stuff will be pleased, since the movie's overall message is quite positive for tweens and teens: You can rise above your high school self (whether you were the bully or the bullied), and it's never too late to say you're sorry -- or to be forgiven.
What's the story?
Marni (Kristen Bell) is a successful, attractive public-relations executive in Los Angeles -- but in high school she was shy, pimply, and bullied incessantly by her class' queen bee, J.J. (Odette Yustman). On the plane home for her brother's wedding, Marni makes the horrific discovery that her future sister-in-law Joanna is actually her former tormentor. J.J. pretends not to remember Marni and is supposedly a sweet-as-pie nurse who has dedicated her life to helping people. Suspicious, Marni tries to prove to her brother (James Wolk) that his bride-to-be was once a heartless "mean girl." Meanwhile, it turns out that Joanna's wealthy Aunt Mona (Sigourney Weaver) was mother-of-the-groom Gail's (Jamie Lee Curtis) high school BFF ... whom she hasn't spoken to since senior prom. As the weekend progresses, the relationships between the women devolve into a series of competitions and confrontations that could ruin the wedding.
Is it any good?
Bell is a talented actress with surprisingly sharp comedy chops -- just ask any fan of the high school spy series Veronica Mars or watch her brilliant turn as the self-involved celebrity in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. But a movie as clichéd and predictable as this one may leave audiences wondering where her comedy mojo has gone. At first glance, this wedding comedy seems like a winner based on the cast alone -- Weaver, Curtis, Victor Garber, Betty White as the zinger-throwing grandma. Unfortunately, director Andy Fickman -- a specialist in family-friendly titles like The Game Plan and Race to Witch Mountain -- doesn't infuse YOU AGAIN with any edge or any surprises (unless you count the cameos and the flashbacks). There's even a much-younger brother for comedy relief, a la Family Ties.
Aside from the cameos, the surprising finds of this broad comedy -- which includes such ludicrous details as two former cheerleaders who stay so close that they're both due on the exact same date and a bride who asks someone she only recently tolerated to walk her down the aisle -- are actors Wolk and Sean Wing (as a former crush). Both are charismatic and will hopefully take off in more roles. All weaknesses aside, if you're a mother with a teenage daughter looking for a teachable moment, this could be a good film selection: It shows girls that you don't have to be this way in high school ... and even if you are, you don't have to stay that way forever. Otherwise, skip it and stay home to watch Father of the Bride.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about how high school behavior and bullying can impact people for the rest of their lives. How were all the women characters impacted by their high school selves?
Is there an expiration date for apologies? Was Marni right to want Joanna to apologize for her behavior in high school? What about Gail and Ramona? Did someone need to apologize in that relationship?
Are high schoolers really as mean as Joanna was to Marni? Is what happened to her believable? What other ways do today's teens have to bully each other?
|Theatrical release date:||September 24, 2010|
|DVD release date:||February 8, 2011|
|Cast:||Betty White, Jamie Lee Curtis, Kristen Bell, Sigourney Weaver|
|Studio:||Walt Disney Pictures|
|Run time:||90 minutes|
|MPAA explanation:||brief mild language and rude behavior|