Movie: “Home Again.”
Director: Hallie Meyers-Shyer
Release date: September 8, 2017
Running time: 97 minutes
Fun fact: Reese Witherspoon and Candice Bergen were also both in “Sweet Home Alabama.”
If one could drown in tropes and clichés and mediocrity overall, this movie would make the “Titantic” look like a tea party.
The premise of “Home Again” wields great potential, that potential is not remotely touched upon, with the film choosing to relate upon clichés and a story that leaves much to be developed.
The movie focuses upon Alice Kinney, played Reese Witherspoon, a newly single mother living in her childhood home in Los Angeles. The daughter of a famous filmmaker, Kinney is a harried character, trying to make sense of her life. This entails trying to shuttle her daughters to school and build up a nascent career in interior decorating.
“You are gonna be great, I promise,” Kinney assures one of her nervous daughters on her first day of school. But, the outwardly sunny optimism conceals her own frustrations.
“Alice Kinney is a depressed, newly separated loser,” Kinney types in one scene early on. Of course, given the movie’s reliance on clichés, Kinney needs something or someone to save her from her malaise.
Enter three filmmakers: Harry, played by Pico Alexander, George, played by Jon Rudnitsky, and Teddy, played by Nat Wolff. They have been evicted from a motel room while waiting to pitch their movie idea and achieve success. Sound like another cliché? Struggling writer? Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?
On Alice’s 40th birthday, she meets these three struggling youths in a bar, and subsequently ends up allowing them to stay with her. Of course, not before we are introduced to the seeds of the romantic angle. As per the formula, she invariably ends up having a drink-filled liaison with Harry.
“Alcohol makes me nervous and also kissing a complete stranger,” Alice proclaims while making love. Like much of the film’s dialogue, it is lacking in depth or pathos. As a viewer, it downright alienates me.
Of course, there is the inevitable morning-after scene, when Alice and Harry claim they simply want to be friends. In the kingdom of rom-com, that will not be acceptable. Suffice it to say Alice and Harry grapple with their attraction to it throughout. Herein lies one of the film’s true weaknesses: There is no real chemistry between our love interests. It feels as if they are simply uttering lines on command, but not imbuing them with emotion. Given Witherspoon’s track record of playing dynamic and engaging characters, this attests to the script’s lack of development.
Of course, someone has to threaten the Harry and Alice angle. That person is Alice’s ex-husband, Austen, played by Michael Sheen, a character who does not have enough on-screen time. Given that fact, his appearance seems too contrived, although with development Myers could have made him an integral character. In particular, the film would have been significantly stronger if it had explored Alice and Austen’s break-up and the reasons behind it, as well as the nature of their relationship overall.
I will not give the ending away, but suffice it to say in the kingdom of rom-com, there is only one ending. Predictably, it is a little too neat, replete with a mawkish soundtrack to tie it together.
Should you see this movie? If you are a fan of clichés, tropes and underdeveloped storylines.
Collegian reporter Mir-Yashar Seyedbagheri can be reached at email@example.com. His Twitter handle is @dudesosad.