HOME AGAIN – A Review by Cynthia Flores
Home Again is the feature directorial debut of writer/director Hallie Meyers-Shyer. I put the blame for the lack of spark at her feet. When you have a top notch cast led by Reese Witherspoon, the queen of light-hearted comedies and you don’t knock it out of the park then it’s on you.
I was in a packed theater with a room full of major Reese fans expecting to be wowed by this this new film. Instead I left feeling just slightly amused. It’s not a bad movie it’s just ok. Not what I have come to expect from a Witherspoon film.
It’s the story of Alice Kinney (Reese Witherspoon) the grown child of an iconic director father and his wife/muse Lillian (Candice Bergen). Alice has moved away from her life in New York back to LA and moved into her late father’s home. She is a newly single mom of two young girls, Isabel (Lola Flanery) and Rosie (Eden Grace Redfield) who are trying to fit into their new sunny life in La La Land in new schools. When we first see Alice she is crying in the bathroom so her girls can’t hear her. She misses her estranged husband who is still in New York. She’s trying to make a go of it as an interior decorator and it’s her fortieth birthday, lots to cry about there.
Because she likes to go all out and have fun with her friends on her birthdays she’s in a bar and is swept up by the attention of a much younger man named Harry (Pico Alexander). He and his friends, Teddy (Nat Wolf), and George (Jon Rudnitsky) join Alice and her friends in a long night of drinking and dancing ending in a nightcap at her home since her daughters are staying the night at their grandmother's house.
The boys stay the night and are thrilled to find out who Alice’s father was since they’re a film making team of dreamers from upstate New York that created a short film that has gotten the attention of Hollywood. They are out of cash to pay for a place to stay to follow up on the opportunities they have in LA right now. Alice's’ mom, Lillian, is flattered that they know her work from the 70s and convinces Alice to let them stay in her guest house for a bit.
The rest of the film is what you expect with Harry carrying on an affair with Alice while he and his friends bond with her kids. They form a kind of family and all is well until her estranged husband Austen (Michael Sheen), shows up on their doorstep and instantly is hated by the boys.
I won’t give away any spoilers in case you do still plan to catch this film opening weekend. Let’s just say that Alice has to make some hard decisions and decide who she wants to be now that she’s forty.
Home Again is a great idea of a movie that has really funny bits but it just is not able to sustain that humor consistently through the whole film. After the hit Big Little Lies and Wild I guess something so simple as this light romcom is beneath Reese Witherspoon now. We know she can do better and I hope she does next time.
Directed by Hallie Meyers-Shyer
Written By Hallie Meyers-Shyer
Selig Rating B-
Running Time 1hr 37min
Wide release Friday Sept. 7th
Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Nat Wolff, Michael Sheen, Pico Alexander, Candice Bergen, Jon Rudnitsky, Lola Flanery, Eden Grace Redfield