Home Again review: Reese Witherspoon leads the cast of this romantic L.A. story about a single mother who allows three young men to move in with her and her two daughters.
Home Again review by Paul Heath.
If you are aware of the films by celebrated American filmmakers Nancy Meyer and Charles Shyer – we’re talking the likes of Something’s Gotta Give, The Holiday and The Intern (Meyer), and then Baby Boom, Father Of The Bride and the Alfie remake (Shyer), you’ll know what you in store for here. Home Again is the directorial debut of their daughter Hallie Meyers-Shyer and co-produced by its lead, Reese Witherspoon.
Witherspoon plays the character of Alice Kinney, a mother of two adorable daughters who we learn in the opening frames has just separated from her husband Austen (Michael Sheen). Alice is the daughter of a respected L.A. based film director and has inherited a very nice house –her family home – in a swanky part of the city where she lives with her two kids. He life changes for the better when, after an alcohol-fuelled night out, she meets Harry (Pico Alexander), George (Jon Rudnitsky) and Teddy (Nat Wolff), three budding filmmakers who have fallen on hard times, broke and destitute.
After briefly bunking up with Harry, Alice suggests for the three to come and live in her pool house, and offer which they obviously accept, all of them quickly adjusting to their new lives, helping with the kids and getting in with Alice’s mum Lilian (Candice Bergen). All is going swimmingly until Austen gets a whiff of what’s going on from over in New York, where he is still working as a successful record producer. The film charts the three boys’ journeys as they attempt to navigate through the rough waters of the filmmaking world, the relationship between them, Alice and the two children, and the impact it all has as Austen returns to the family home.
Don’t get me wrong, I love films like The Holiday and Father of the Bride. Both of those movies work so well and very much have something, or someone, to relate to. Unfortunately, Home Again does not. The film is so far from most people’s reality that it manages to disengage its audience pretty much from the off. Sure, Reese Witherspoon is as likable in this as in anything else she’s done, but the situation that her character, rich-Alice finds herself in, and the choices she makes, simply doesn’t work.
Scenario after scenario plays out in front of you over the films 97 minutes, which, by the way, feels so much longer, but one simply doesn’t care. Michael Sheen is largely wasted but does okay with the material he’s given, while Candice Bergen also kind of delights as the Hollywood widow, but this isn’t enough to save this very, very dull film.
It’s great to see a film address the Hollywood ‘age’ issue in seeing an older woman fall for a younger man, which I did not have any issues with, but I found none of the young men particularly likable, and the plot massively contrived and manipulative. A tidy ending saves it somewhat, but by the final reel, the damage was more than done.
Home Again? I will pass, thank you very much.
Home Again review by Paul Heath, September 2017.
Home Again review is released in UK cinemas on Friday 29th September 2017.