You Again is a film that gets the job done with few surprises. Granted, it’s not aiming that high to begin with; it settles for recycled rom-com tropes and mild high jinks just funny enough to keep the ball rolling; and overall, You Again is nice.

However, nice can only take you so far before losing your attention. What most films require beyond pleasantry is either a sharp set of teeth to grab your attention, or a twisted view of reality, neither of which can be found in You Again.

Marni (Bell) is the underdog high school drama victim that viewers feel compelled to pity and root for. We first get a glimpse of the hell that she went through in her senior year. Back then, she was still cocooned in adolescent awkwardness with a set of coke-bottle glasses and acne. She makes the butterfly transformation into a gorgeous, high-heeled babe during college, but scars from early years of constant ridicule by high school bully Joanna (Yustman) never fully heal.

Now that Marni begins to take major steps in her professional career, the inner insecure girl is fading. When Marni takes a small break to go back home and attend her brother’s wedding, she discovers that her future sister-in-law is none other than Joanna.

Marni is not the only one that meets an enemy from her past; her mom (Curtis) is reunited with an adversary of her own (Weaver). Between the four of them, You Again goes about showing us how vicious and resentful the female specious can be. The lesson learned is that behind all their demure grins, women can harbour bitterness and spite for decades. This is makes for a most regressive portrayal of womanhood, one that only adds insult to injury by wrapping up the tale with some reaffirming sentimentality.

Bell is a talented starlet with a unique comedic sensibility, which has played to her advantage in past endeavours such as Forgetting Sarah Marshall. She possesses an approachable charm, countered with clocked sinister delivery. In You Again, she seems to have bypassed her natural quirkiness in favour of appealing to a broader audience; essentially taking the Katherine Heigl route by playing a relatable unassuming character that all girls can relate to.

Films get away with flat subtexts all the time, but usually the subtexts serve as a springboard for something else, like comedy. The jokes in You Again are not only dull; they have also been heard before. At least the film shoots them at a speedy pace, and the adorable Betty White gets to have one last hilarious joke.