Home Again

(2017)

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Title:
Home Again
Release Date:
7th September 2017
Runtime:
97 min
MPAA Rating:
PG-13
Genres:
Directors:
Hallie Meyers-Shyer
Writers:
Hallie Meyers-Shyer
Languages:
English
Stream Quality:
1080p / 720p / 480p

Storyline

Life for a single mom in Los Angeles takes an unexpected turn when she allows three young guys to move in with her.

Ratings

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 32%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 56%
IMDb Rating 5.7

Casts

Christine Woods as Yoga Mom
Lake Bell as Zoey
Nat Wolff as Teddy
Pico Alexander as Harry
Reese Witherspoon as Alice Kinney

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Keith Goode 15th September, 2017

A Stinking Pile From Start to Finish

Where do I begin? The very first scene, with Reece Witherspoon crying in the mirror because she's 40 is the perfect metaphor for this movie. It's the story about a shallow family who bring 3 shallow men into their home, and nothing changes. Nothing is better. Nothing is worse. At the beginning of the movie, Reece's character is separated from her husband. They're getting a divorce, but he plans to move to L.A. to be near the kids. By the end of the movie, he lives in L.A. to be near the kids, and they're still getting a divorce. At the beginning of the movie, the 3 pointless men are trying to get their movie made in L.A. By the end of the movie, they're still trying to get it made. Between the beginning and the end of the movie, there are lots of scenes of white people, sitting around a table, eating food and drinking wine ... and laughing a lot. I mean, really. They laugh a lot. About what?, you may ask. I don't know. There's music playing over the conversations. Okay. The main conflict? I'm still scratching my head trying to figure out what it was. I know there was a scene where Reece invites her boy-fling out to dinner the next night, and he tells her that he already has plans (a meeting with a producer to get funds for his movie), but he'll make it to her little dinner with her friends. Where, by the way, they sit around the table, drinking wine, eating, and laughing a lot. Except Reece, who is sighing and staring at the empty chair beside her ... or at her phone, where she's able to read up-to-the-minute text updates from boy-fling. "Hey, they just ordered more rounds." "Hey, sorry, this is going longer than expected." ... And the next morning, she's just so devastated that he didn't break away from his meeting with a Hollywood producer to attend her little laughing soiree that she just has to tearfully end it. Apparently, there are also no people of color in L.A.. I was really surprised. I thought there would be some Latinos in the background, maybe a black person at the restaurant. No. No POCs. Except one scene in which a black guy brings the 3 bros a pizza and doesn't get tipped. Go figure. The writing was terrible. The acting was so flat and uninspiring that I'm pretty sure someone's career will be ended by this movie. And in the end, I didn't even get to see any resolution to a story. The only scene I could relate to was Reece crying in the mirror at the beginning. I kind of wanted to do that myself.

Reviewed by rgkarim 9th September, 2017

Fun, Family, and Friends Make It Feel Like Home

Not in the mood for scares this weekend? No problem, Hollywood has got you non-horror movie goers covered with another romantic comedy. This weekend, the legendary Reese Witherspoon stars in another Hallie Meyers-Shyer work, in hopes of tickling your romantic fantasy on a less risque scale. Robbie K back again with another movie review on Home Again. Will this film be another mundane addition to her lineup, or do we perhaps have something special with this flick? Let's get started to answer that question, shall we? LIKES: Charming/Cute: Like her works in the past, Meyers-Shyer has done a fantastic job building an adorable world/situation for our characters to play in. No major tension, violence, or heart- stopping shock moments, exist in this movie. Instead it is just a simple tale that will pull at your heartstrings while portraying those romantic morals many wish to see. Such a positive atmosphere certainly offsets the horror atmosphere of the other movie most likely to be in your theater. Fun: With that positive atmosphere comes a fun movie, filled with small sequences that are wholesome, innocent, and surprisingly entertaining. Like a Hallmark Movie on steroids, Home Again takes on plenty of life lessons that are tested against the modern society trends today. Loyalty, romance, job work, responsibility, and child rearing are just some of the things you'll get in this movie. And while tasteful, and certainly predictable, the journey to addressing the obstructions in our character's life brings about some simplistic laughs, a plethora of smiles, and a few tears for whose hearts are warmed by Meyer-Shyer's writing. Acting: Despite what some say, I found the acting okay and well-fitting given the environment of the movie. Witherspoon herself felt very natural in the role of a single mom looking to find herself again. She brought great energy to the film, all while keeping herself grounded amidst the chaos of all the relationships. The kids were an adorable addition, each playing their parts well to offset the romantic drama loaded into this film. I particular liked the older daughter story and how it integrated a different side of the guys to help solve a different problem. Speaking of the guys all three "eligible" bachelors were decent in playing their assigned roles, from younger brother bringing peace, to the stud that caught Reese's eyes. Of all them, Jon Rudnitsky was my favorite and the most dynamic of the characters being integrated into the film. A nice blend of comedy and drama, Jon's character kept the characters well integrated into the mix. The short run time: A predictable tale like this can get old, fast. Fortunately, they had the foresight to cut this movie to the shorter end, telling the tale in enough details to get the job done. A plus on my side, though many may feel robbed of a full story they pine for given her past films. DISLIKES: Rushed elements: Despite the short time being a nice gift, Home Again's brisk pace leaves some key development scrounging for a rebound. So much potential to really give more layers to the movie, and perhaps get a few engaging story lines out of the mix would have been the better route. Especially when it came to the challenges at hand. No major obstacle: Home Again felt like a movie with little struggle, few challenges, and in all honesty a lackluster tale all in all. It played a little too close to home and left me just milling about as the problems seemed to iron themselves away. With all the complicated relationships crammed into this tale, one would expect a little more resistance from the awkward shuffling this cast played. Even most Hallmark movies push back more than this film did before they get to that mushy-gushy ending that millions fall in love with. Perhaps a larger challenge might have made for more engaging characters and a feeling of accomplishment. Characters: Sure they are charming, cute, admirable, and responsible in many ways, but I have to face the facts… the characters are rather one dimensional. The actors did well with what they were given, but much of the movie's puppets were a bit boring to me. Much of my fellow audience members like their physical appearances the most, but this reviewer had difficulties attaching to them because of their stunted growth. Even Reese's character seemed a bit dull, caught in a whirlwind of indecision before suddenly flipping sides. Even worse, the characters (like the plot) were predictable, further dulling the film's entertainment value. Little Candice Bergen: When you sell Murphy Brown in the trailers, I hope to get more of the spunky actress. Not the case, as Bergen is reduced to a few nugget lines of dialog that is lost in the "romantic" tide. Had she been integrated into the movie, I have no doubt the characters could have grown stronger with her pushing Reese's character to better herself. The VERDICT: While certainly cute, Home Again was a bit too simplistic for my tastes, missing the potential to be one of the better romantic comedies. A rushed story with limited character growth, no real obstacles to keep you engaged, and some missed comedic elements doesn't bode well for this predictable tale. However, it is still a fun, feel good movie that will do its job of entertaining target audiences with eye candy, simplistic laughs, and an overall warm your cardiac pump moment that will make you feel good at the end of the day. Not a bad feeling, but not worth the inflated movie ticket price. My scores: Comedy/Drama/Romance: 6.0 Movie Overall: 5.5

Reviewed by bkrauser-81-311064 7th September, 2017

Fluffy and Forgettable

Home Again is one of those movies that's easy to like and easy to forget. It's amateurish, the characters are flat and one-dimensional and the story is practically a celebration in vapidity and contrivance. Despite this, there's not a mean bone in Home Again's body. There's lightness to it. It's boring but charming in much the same way the interior of a Pier 1 is. Reese Witherspoon stars as Alice Kinney, a recently separated mother of two who has returned to her childhood home in California to start over. Her mother (Bergen) and deceased father were once considered Hollywood royalty; a fact that three young potential filmmakers (Wolff, Alexander, Rudnitsky) go positively gaga for when they meet her at a bar celebrating her 40th birthday. Blah, blah, blah the three end up moving into the guest house. The estranged husband (Sheen) shows up later making four and Reese Witherspoon tries to cobble together a life amid the chaos. Did I say chaos, I meant unrealistically utopian equilibrium. Alice and her brother-husbands seem to have little scruples about living in a house together. This is in large part because they don't display any of the negative attributes of a regular human being. Stubbornness becomes selflessness and possessiveness is painted like enamored school boy crushes. Most of the external conflicts exist despite the setup and all the internal conflicts have the undemanding clarity of a children's storybook. To top it all off we're given the comparable setting of a 30's screwball comedy, vis a vis an expansive Hollywood villa, ensuring that the prime demographic will finally have a respite from the grave, emotionally challenging story arcs of The Gilmore Girls (2000-2007). The movie takes its reverse Three's Company (1976-1984) setup exactly where you think it's going to go. At one point one of Alice's friend's muses that she has 24-hour childcare, tech support and sex all under one roof. Because the children are around, the dynamic stays as pallid and PG as it can, with focus being constantly siphoned off into unnecessary subplots. These subplots provide the few moments of character development for the three boys, but once they're living and interacting in Alice's quaint Spanish style abode, it becomes clear that the main reason for them being in this movie is to be a plot device. This is where, if you read way too much into it like I did, you get to the good stuff. If viewed through a specific lens, Home Again could be seen as an examination of modern gender relations. At 40, Alice struggles with never truly finding the complete package – a handsome man who can exhibit maturity, meet obligations, provide economic stability, and healthy emotional growth for her and her children while seeing Alice as an equal. This point is further highlighted by the fact that she idolizes her father despite him not exactly being a prize either. So instead of compromising she compartmentalizes. She fits the guys in this film into boxes of positive traits and for the most part, they fit them, at least until the plot deems this equilibrium is no longer stable. Obviously this line of thought coaxes a lot of interesting questions about masculinity, femininity and modern relationships. But using this movie as a starting point for such a discussion is like reading Tarot through McDonalds Monopoly tokens. This movie isn't Antonia's Line (1995) it's Sweet Home Alabama (2002); which is to say a fluffy and forgettable piece of popular entertainment. That said Home Again is not all that unpleasant to sit through, in large part because Witherspoon knows exactly how to move sugary confections like this. She proves effortlessly charming and despite some bad editing and awkward staging, Home Again glides on the power of her gossamer wings to give us a moderately entertaining distraction. See it if you must.

Reviewed by David Ferguson ([email protected]) 6th September, 2017

the buddy system

Greetings again from the darkness. Let's just get this out of the way upfront. There is a proved and established market for mindless fluff designed to allow women to laugh at the messes created by "real life" relationships, careers, and parenting. In fact, first time writer-director Hallie Meyers-Shyer is merely continuing the traditions set by her bloodline. She is the daughter of filmmakers Nancy Meyers and Charles Shyer who shared an Oscar screen writing nomination for PRIVATE BENJAMIN (1980), and collaborated on other Romantic-Comedies such as FATHER OF THE BRIDE (I and II), and BABY BOOM (1987). Rom- Coms exist to bring some balance to the universe of Comic Book film adaptations for fan boys. It is possible to have quality filmmaking on both sides … no matter how rare it seems. Oscar winner Reese Witherspoon stars as Alice Kinney. It's her 40th birthday, and she's a chipper lady recently separated from her music industry husband (Michael Sheen) and moved with their two daughters (Lola Flanery, Eden Grace Redfield) from New York to Los Angeles. Alice is in full "starting over" mode, including kicking off a new home decorating business. During a drunken birthday celebration with her friends, Alice hooks up with a younger man. The next morning, Alice's mom (Candice Bergen) invites Harry (the young man played by Pico Anderson) and his two buddies (Nat Wolff, Jon Rudnitsky - all 3 are budding filmmakers) to move into Alice's house. What follows is a maybe/maybe not romance between Harry and Alice, a bonding between the fellows and Alice's daughters, new business struggles for Alice, the sudden return to the scene of Alice's husband, and an endless stream of movie-making meetings for the 3 guys. That's a recap of the story, but it doesn't address the real issue. For years, we have been hearing that the good-old-boy Hollywood network needed to back more female-centric projects: movies about women, movies directed by women, movies written by women, movies produced by women. Well this one has ALL of that, and yet I can only imagine the outrage if a man had written/directed/produced this exact film. Let's discuss. Alice is positioned as a "brave" and "strong" woman for moving her kids across the country and starting over. What allows this woman to be so courageous? Well see, she is the daughter of a deceased filmmaker who had a successful career and left her a multi-million dollar California estate … conveniently, one with a guest house for the three young men to live in. And who in their right mind, and with two young daughters, would invite three total strangers to move in – especially the night after - even if one of them looks to be yanked right out of an Abercrombie ad? There is also Alice's interaction with her first client (played by Lake Bell). Despite despicable treatment from the rich lady, Alice doesn't stand her ground until yet another drunken bout of liquid courage occurs. The two daughters are smart and cute, but there is an obvious shortage of daily parenting happening here – the daughters seem to show up only when a dose of precociousness is required. The scenes with Alice and her estranged husband are appropriately awkward, but the communication seems hokey … at least until we witness true hokeyness in the cartoonish exchanges between the (now) four gentlemen. In fact, all male characters are written as cartoons, which we might view as "getting even" with the many times female characters were poorly written; however, since the female lead here is just as unreal, that theory doesn't hold. The paint-by-numbers approach carries through as we check all the boxes: cute kids, a pet dog, apologetic ex, hunky new suitor, no financial hardships, loads of delightful dialogue, Ms. Witherspoon flashing more facial contortions than Jim Carrey at his peak, at least two cheesy musical montages, a mad dash to the kid's play/recital/game, and even the cherry on top … a Carole King song at the end. In a year with so many wonderful female-centric films, this one is difficult to comprehend – except that maybe, given who her parents are, perhaps Ms. Meyers-Shyer is actually the beneficiary of that good old boy network of which we've heard tell.

Reviewed by singe594 4th September, 2017

It's bad, no I mean it, it's really bad

Let me preface this by say that I love movies, I'm not a movie snob by any stretch. I particularly love Rom-Coms and have been disappointed that they have fallen out of favor over the last decade or so. Some of my favorite movies are cheesy Rom-Coms; Never Been Kissed, 13 Going on 30, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, The Holiday and even Ghost of Girlfriends Past. I saw this film as a pre-screener ahead of it's official release. Sometimes they pre-screen movies because they are great and want them to get buzz, sometimes they are really bad, and hope the audience falls in love before the critics get their hands on it. This is bad, really bad. Not just in story, but in acting, directing, editing score; you name it, it's bad. I love Reese Witherspoon and never thought I would see her phone in a performance but here it is. She doesn't so much as act as rolls her eyes and makes goofy faces; it's embarrassing to watch. There are so many cast members here that usually can do no wrong in my book; Candice Bergen, Lake Bell, Michael Sheen. They are given nothing to work with and Michael Sheen's character is nothing more than a cartoon. Nat Wolff is up and coming; I've seen him in a few things and think he's generally pretty good. Thanks to the very poor editing you can see him laughing in two scenes where he's clearly not supposed to be. The whole film is just embarrassingly bad. You know the movie Mother's Day, how "bad" that is? It looks like an Oscar winning film compared to this. I looked up the movie after the screening, curious how it went so wrong. It's written and directed by Nancy Myer's daughter. Her daughter seems to have no credentials to be able to sell and direct a movie so my thought is that there were a lot of favors and strings pulled and it shows. I wouldn't even recommend watching this movie if you were sick in bed and it happened to pop up on TV.