Magic is everywhere in Disney's The
Sorcerer's Apprentice-the fun family adventure from the creators
of National Treasure. Balthazar Blake (Nicolas Cage) is a
modern-day sorcerer with his hands full defending Manhattan
against dark forces. When a seemingly average kid shows hidden
potential, Balthazar takes his reluctant recruit on a crash
course in the art and science of magic to become the ultimate
sorcerer's apprentice. Experience more extraordinary thrills,
heart-stopping action and spectacular special effects than
you can imagine as these unlikely partners show us that the
real world is far more magical than we ever knew!
“You Again” comes from the Disney-backed Touchstone Pictures and the director of such comedies such as “She’s The Man” and “Game Plan”, but this reviewer would seriously hesitate from calling it a rom-com or even a comedy for that matter. There’s a particularly mean-spirited vibe throughout the movie, and none of the gags scripted by first-time writer Moe Jelline are amusing enough to convince you otherwise, so it really stands to reason how this Andy Fickman film could be billed as a comedy.
The premise itself is none too hilarious- unless of course you consider marriage wrecking funny. The character we are supposed to identify and empathise with is Marni Olivia Olsen (Kristen Bell) who was an outcast during her high school days and a favourite target of the school’s most popular cheerleader Joanna (Odette Yustman). Marni, now a successful PR exec, returns home mortified to discover that her older brother Will is getting married to Joanna.
The horror! Does he know what a ‘b***h’ she was before? I must expose her for who she is and most of all, demand an apology- if not, I’ll just have to wreck my brother’s wedding, so thinks Marni. Good for her, but are we the audience supposed to endorse her devious marriage wrecking plans? Especially when we see how Will and Joanna seem genuinely in love with each other and that Joanna seems a changed person?
Apparently, bruised egos still need to be massaged, so yes the film tries to get us to feel for Marni when all we can think about is how vindictive she is to the point of absurdity. Meanwhile, our sympathies go out to Joanna, who seems intent on leaving her not-so glorious high school days behind to start a new life with Will. Indeed, a dance rehearsal that sees Marni and Joanna try to out-dance each other and a rehearsal dinner where Marni successfully humiliates Joanna proves the extent of the filmmakers’ foolhardiness in believing that their audience will look upon Marni kindly.
Marni and Joanna’s rivalry are mirrored in reverse by their parent/guardian- Marni’s mom Gail (Jamie Lee Curtis) and Joanna’s aunt Ramona (Sigourney Weaver) best friends turned rivals also in high school, except that Gail was the popular one and Ramona the outcast. At least Gail and Ramona’s rivalry isn’t overblown unlike Marni and Joanna’s, the duo going at each other with some modicum of maturity. It was probably Fickman’s choice to tune up the hysterics between Marni and Joanna, and one can only say that it is frustrating if not downright annoying.
The only bright spark in this movie is watching Weaver and Curtis back on screen, the “Aliens” star and “Halloween” scream-girl’s pairing nothing less than screen gold. Betty White (Ryan Reynolds’ grandma in ‘The Proposal’) is in an utterly cringe-worthy role as the sexually-active grandma to Marni looking for younger guys to get it on with. Next to Weaver and Curtis, Bell and Yustman look like amateurs, and completely forgettable.
Still, the uneven acting abilities of its leading actresses aside, this supposed rom-com doesn’t deserve a place in the genre simply because it is mean-spirited and devoid of laughs. It’s one thing to be bad, and another to be nasty- the fact that “You Again” is both means only that you should avoid this at all costs.
SPECIAL FEATURES :
The only featurette on this disc is “Following Flickman: On Set with the Director” where the cast and crew take turns to extol Andy Fickman for being such a nice and genuinely sweet guy to work with on the set. Pity then that this movie is quite the opposite.
“Ask the Cast” is a lame attempt at getting the cast to offer advice on how to impress during an interview, what to bring along on your high school dance, and how to beat out another actress for a part. Note to cast- it isn’t amusing.
Finally, “Funny or Die” has the cats bickering with each other during an interview, mirroring their rivalry on the film. There are also three Deleted Scenes that aren’t any better than the painful feature presentation itself.
Don’t expect much of the Dolby Digital 5.1 track on this disc- the dialogue is mostly front and centre, and only the soundtrack and sporadic sound effects can be heard from the rear channels. Visuals are clean and sharp, and colours look strikingly vibrant.
by Gabriel Chong
Posted on 3 February 2011