Home Again – movie review

by James Robins / 11 November, 2017

A single-mum rom-com shows that rich people can be happy, too, but who cares?

Reese Witherspoon, that rock of reliability, plays Alice in Home Again, a goopy heartwarmer from debuting director Hallie Meyers-Shyer, who is the daughter of Hollywood romcom specialist Nancy Meyers.

Newly separated with two young daughters, Alice is just turning 40 and embarking on an interior-design business. But she’s still crying in the bathroom.

Her deliverance, if she needed it, comes in the form of three young film-makers who have arrived in Hollywood looking for a big break after making a short film that became a hit.

For some reason never properly explained, they shack up in the guest house of Alice’s expansive, indulgent LA home, employed as live-in chefs and babysitters, much to the approval of Alice’s mother (Candice Bergen).

Alice soon begins an affair with Harry (Pico Alexander) after he fixes her kitchen cabinet (swoon), perhaps mistaking his excessive greasiness for the lusty glow of youth. It’s all upended again when the inimitable Michael Sheen shows up as Alice’s ex, a picture of suavity. When he arrives, a conflict ensues over Alice’s affections, and the film accelerates mildly from low-gear puff piece towards something snappier, wittier and marginally more acerbic.

But what we ultimately get is vagueness, eye-wateringly bright lighting, gentle guitar music on the soundtrack, a constant whining tone, ethical lessons about friendship and reconciliation and an immense sense of wasted time.

Home Again is a film that exists for no other apparent reason than to prove that rich people can be happy, too. It’s true that this kind of fluff wasn’t made for me; it’s for an audience who prefer their wholesome snacks in lump-sugar form. In which case, I demand better on their behalf.

IN CINEMAS NOW

★1/2

This article was first published in the November 4, 2017 issue of the New Zealand Listener.

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