Published Sep 23, 2010It says something going in that even the contrived premise of the latest Touchstone/Kristen Bell vehicle is stale and embarrassing, playing on female passive-aggressive behaviour and broad familiar setups involving impending weddings, karaoke fun and pushing people into pools.
It's true that mainstream audiences love being patronized, but do they also enjoy being flippantly mocked and lazily categorized by demographic in a film that picks and chooses scenes and ideas from other crappy chick flicks that generated income?
The cornball convenience here is that the main character ― a star publicity twit named Marni (Bell) ― was relentlessly harassed in high school by her older brother's new fiancée, Joanna (Odette Yusman). What's more, when introduced to a horrified Marni, Joanna seemingly has no recollection of her torture, offering smiles and social etiquettes to our seething heroine. To boot, mom Gail (Jamie Lee Curtis) discovers that Joanna's aunt, Ramona (Sigourney Weaver), was the bitch that embarrassed her at prom and similarly doesn't seem to remember. Wow, what are the chances?
While Weaver does pompous and entitled with natural comic ease, and her exciting jet-setting life juxtaposes well with the frustrated suburban existence of Curtis, Moe Jelline's jokeless script gives them nothing to work with. Cameos walk in and out of the film only for the "look who it is" factor, while the initially tense setup devolves into crass sentimentality.
Somewhere in here is a message about second chances and holding onto the past, which is pretty much par for the saccharine course, resounding as dully on screen as it does in a fortune cookie.
If the original trajectory of Mean Girls chaos had played out, this glossy, and slightly sexist, comedy could have been fun, given the natural talents of most of the cast. Instead, it goes for wholesome and forgettable. (Buena Vista)