“High school is a pit of despair,” Kristen Bell declares. “It’s a swirling tornado of insecurities, and there’s really nothing good about it.”

Truer words have never been spoken. But Bell isn’t bemoaning her teenage years in Michigan. She’s actually talking about the setting of her new film, You Again.

Directed by Bell’s longtime friend and collaborator Andy Fickman, the comedy is about a successful woman (Bell) who realizes her brother is going to marry the girl who mercilessly bullied her throughout high school (Cloverfield’s Odette Yustman), so she sets out to expose the fiancée’s dastardly true colors. With a supporting cast that includes newly minted national treasure Betty White, Sigourney Weaver, Jamie Lee Curtis, Victor Garber and Kristen Chenoweth, Bell was in co-star heaven while revisiting the darkest period of most people’s lives.

“[In high school] you’re on this learning curve of who you are and who you want to be, and you’re comparing yourself to everyone around you and there’s no sense to it,” Bell says. “Everyone just wants to be loved, and no one feels loved enough in high school.”

Funny enough, the actress could just as easily be describing Hollywood.

“Touché,” she smirks, hoisting one well-arched eyebrow and nodding her head in agreement. “Totally.”

Yet, unlike many actors on a desperate quest for attention and accolades, Bell had to be convinced to move to Hollywood to pursue klieg light glory, and it was You Again director Fickman who persuaded her.

The pair met 10 years ago while doing an Off Broadway production of “Reefer Madness” in New York City. Not long after the show closed, Bell recalls, “Andy said, ‘I think you need to move to L.A.,’ and I said, ‘You’re drunk.’” After much insistence and his promise to “be your family there,” Bell packed her bags and came out west.

“I don’t think I would have moved to L.A. if, A) [Andy] had not convinced me and B) Had he not been here. I was just too nervous. I have a best friendship and a weird older brother relationship with Andy, and it’s a relationship I’ll take to my grave. I love him so much. I do projects with him all the time. They just don’t warrant this kind of press. We’ve done plays together in black box theaters that seat 17 people, and it’s because we like working together.”

She describes the director, with whom she’s currently developing a musical update of the ’80s classic Heathers, as “an indescribable ball of positive energy. He goes from job-to-job spreading so much joy. As a director, you’re working with so many elements, and Andy always has a smile on his face. I respect him the most for that. He creates a set where everyone is so happy to be there.”

But when Fickman brought Bell Moe Jelline’s script for You Again, the actress was excited by much more than the chance to get back to work with a dear friend.

“I wanted to do this script because it’s so few and far between that you read a really good female-driven comedy, especially one that [isn’t] a romantic comedy where you have some doe-eyed, brain-dead girl staring at her co-worker, wishing he’d put a ring on her finger. The lovesick puppy dog thing, it works and they’re great movies, but this script has so many great, feisty women. When I found out Sigourney and Jamie Lee [were going to be in the film], I didn’t know what to do. I was like, ‘Do you think they’ll still have me?’ I was initially intimidated and then I got nervous. It sent me right back to high school, [thinking], ‘OK, how can I make everybody like me?’”

Add to that the knowledge that White would be playing her grandmother and Bell was “in hysterics” with excitement.

“The greatest thing about Betty is [everybody] says to her, ‘Congratulations on your comeback,’ and her response is always, ‘Sweetie, I never left. You just forgot I was here.’ She’s been around forever, has such an amazing body of work and is always the funniest person in the room. She’s diminutive and you may forget she’s there for a second – until she zings you with the funniest joke you’ve ever heard and makes you double over.”

You Again releases in theaters Sept. 24.