Director: Hallie Meyers-Shyer
Cast: Reese Witherspoon, Nat Wolff, Jon Rudnitsky, Pico Alexander, Lake Bell, Michael Sheen, Candice Bergen
Runtime: 1 hr 33 mins
Rating: PG (Some Sexual References)
Released By: Shaw
Official Website: http://homeagain-movie.com/
Opening Day: 12 October 2017
Synopsis: Recently separated from her husband, (Michael Sheen), Alice decides to start over by moving back to her hometown of Los Angeles with her two young daughters. During a night out on her 40th birthday, Alice meets three aspiring filmmakers who happen to be in need of a place to live. Alice agrees to let the guys stay in her guest house temporarily, but the arrangement ends up unfolding in unexpected ways. Alice’s unlikely new family and new romance comes to a crashing halt when her ex-husband shows up, suitcase in hand. HOME AGAIN is a story of love, friendship, and the families we create. And one very big life lesson: Starting over is not for beginners.
Back in 2011, Reese Witherspoon made her breakthrough by portraying Elle Woods, a ditzy sorority girl who goes to law school to win her ex boyfriend back. Viewers old enough would remember Legally Blonde directed by Robert Luketic, and how Witherspoon made the otherwise formulaic and predictable comedy a refreshing movie to sit through. The actress would go on to play the same character in Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde (2003).
If you want to be taken seriously in Hollywood, you must move on to dramatic roles. And that’s what Witherspoon did. She took on the role of June Carter (famed singer Johnny Cash’s second wife) in James Mangold’s Walk the Line (2005). It was a good year for Witherspoon as she was crowned Best Actress as the Academy Awards, Golden Globe Awards, BAFTA Awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards and Critics Choice Awards. Then along came along other dramatic roles in serious films like Rendition (2007), Water for Elephants (2011) and Inherent Vice (2014).
The actress makes a return to her roots in romantic comedies here. And because time is the most unforgiving thing in life, Witherspoon, who once portrayed energetic young girls, now plays a single mother who yearns for true love.
In her directorial debut, Hallie Meyers Shyer (daughter of director Nancy Meyers, who helmed commercial successes like The Holiday, It’s Complicated and The Intern) gives viewers a May December romance story she wrote. A 40 year old single mother (Witherspoon) lets two young brothers (Nat Wolff and Pico Alexander) and their friend (Jon Rudnitsky) live with her in her Los Angeles home – you can expect a romance to blossom in the most awkward sense. Throw in a nasty client of a interior design business, the return of the ex husband and a somewhat unnecessary side plot about filmmaking, and you get a rom com pleasant enough to kill 97 minutes of your time.
Witherspoon holds up as a woman searching for happiness while struggling to juggle with her existing family problems. The young actors do what they can to play their roles: Alexander (A Most Violent Year) is the token pretty boy, Wolff (Light Turner in the American remake of Death Note) is goofy, while Rudnitsky (Saturday Night Live) is likeable. Elsewhere, Lake Bell (No Escape) gets bitchy as the difficult client, Candice Bergen (Bride Wars) plays the wise old mother, and Michael Sheen (Nocturnal Animals) provides a nice surprise by turning up as the ex husband.
While the actors are decently charming, there isn’t anything else to shout about for the movie. In its entirety, it feels like a TV movie you’d spend a lazy weekend afternoon watching. You can see how the movie will have its moments of comedy and heartwarming scenes. It seems like an unchallenging project for Witherspoon as she lounges her way through the plot developments. You know that the actress is capable of doing better, and by the time the credits roll, you don’t feel fully satisfied with what you’ve watched.
(An agreeable romantic comedy that could have been so much more)
Review by John Li