Film Review: Home Again (2017)

2017 in Cinema:

Home Again, 2017

Directed by: Hallie Meyers-Shyer

Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Nat Wolff, Jon Rudnitsky, Pico Alexander, Michael Sheen, Candice Bergen

 

Reese Witherspoon stars as Alice Kenney, a 40-year-old single mother of two, who, after a drunken near-sex night with a 27-year-old lad, invites the lad and his friends, a tri of film makers, to stay in her guest house as they’re down on their luck and well into the starving artist phase. She eventually dates and dumps the lad, before her ex-husband (Michael Sheen) comes to their house to win her back.

The trio of lads are Teddy (Nat Wolff), the director, George (Jon Rudnitsky), the writer, and Harry (Pico Alexander), the actor. And the characters they use to fill each plot point in this film are crazy. For a start, Reese dates the director, despite him being one of the most bland characters you’re likely to see in the cinema this year (seriously, he’s good looking and that’s all the character he’s given), yet she has much better on-screen chemistry with the writer. The writer, also, spots Alice’s father’s work room (oh, Alice’s father was a big-time director (coincidence that she’s now dating a wannabe director) and she’s back living in their childhood home since he’s passed away, it’s important but it’s really not that important), and this confused me somewhat. He’s a writer and admires the director father (surely the young director should have been in this place), but, okay, if I saw a director’s room (as a writer) I’d be impressed. Then he spots some of the original writings from Alice’s director father just to tie in with him being a writer: Alice’s father has not been credited as a writer up to this point, nor is he credited as a writer in his film which they watch, or in the opening monologue from Alice, he’s always been a director, so why does he have original scripts? Either he’s a writer and he’s not being given credit, or he’s stolen someone else’s work and his daughter is taking the credit in his place. Surely they could have had her father a writer through and through to enhance this scene, or have the wannabe director in there, but that was wrong. Then later on during Alice’s daughter’s play night, the three filmmakers are trying to get finance for their film, but the meeting is running late and they may miss the girl’s play. So up steps the director to give a speech and suggests the trio leave. The writer has inspired the young girl to write her play, he’s helped rehearse with her, he keeps in touch when the three move out, he promises to be there on the opening night (remember, I’m talking about the writer) and then the director makes the emotional speech to leave. Why didn’t the writer make it then have dialogue with the director to make him see his point of view? So many people in wrong places.

Naturally as a writer I was rooting for the writer, but, in all honesty, he was the only one given any character (the actor was aloof most of the time and the director was good looking). He also had decent on-screen chemistry with Reese, looked the oldest of the three of them (he is the oldest in real life but his real age is the on-screen age of the director) and bonds with her family the most and is the most mature. Why didn’t they have her date him?

And, as the title suggests, she goes home again. Home, in this case, meaning her father’s home where she grew up. There is no need for her father to be a filmmaker or anything like that (aside from the opening and the scene with the writer he’s barely mentioned and has no influence on the three filmmakers while they’re there), it seriously seemed like a ‘we need her to have a fancy house, how can we do that?’ type of thing.

It’s not a brilliant film, but it’ll make you laugh a few times. It’s a simple comedy, but only Alice and the writer are given any sort of character build throughout, and, despite it being a rom-com, they don’t ever get together (despite a weird inclusion of him fancying her and nothing coming of it). The director is a bland, lifeless character and Reese and Jon Rudnitsky aside everyone else was pretty poor in this film, acting-wise. You’ll laugh once or twice, but you won’t be emotionally invested.

 

Plot: * *     Acting: * *     Writing: * *     Presentation: * * *

Overall Rating: * * ¼

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