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Revenge of the Nerd

High school loser grows up, gets pretty, and gets even

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The notion, as stated by You Again’s protagonist, that “who you are in high school determines who you are for the rest of your life” is hardly a new one. But it’s seldom been as clumsily dramatized as it is in this woeful comedy about teen rivalries revived among several generations of a California family. We first meet Marni Olsen (Kristin Bell) in a video from her awkward ’90s, with oversized glasses and acne, being bullied by a cabal of cheerleaders chanting Queen’s “We Are the Champions” as they shove her out of the school. Marni has triumphed by becoming a pretty, successful PR exec. Traveling home for her brother’s wedding, she learns that his fiancée is Joanna (Odette Yustman), Marni’s erstwhile chief tormentor, who has wormed her way into the hearts of Marni’s family. Through a series of mirthless mishaps, Marni is restored to her bad-skinned, bespectacled high-school self as she labors desperately to stop the wedding. Joanna’s glamorous Aunt Ramona (Sigourney Weaver) sashays in, reigniting her own rivalry (this one going back to the ’70s) with Marni’s mom (Jamie Lee Curtis). The pairing of Weaver and Curtis is the movie’s big draw, but the witless script and feckless direction make it a rickety vehicle for these veteran actresses. Betty White, still riding the crest of renewed popularity, provides the sole laugh near the end of the movie, but it’s a dreadfully long haul getting there.

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