Director: Hallie Meyers-Shyer
Screenwriter: Hallie Meyers-Shyer
Runtime: 97 mins
Australian Release Date: 19 October 2017
Previewed at: Sony Pictures Theatrette, Sydney, on 10 October 2017.
Taking into account the political shenanigans going on in the USA at present and the natural disasters that have ravaged various US states and territories, it’s gotta be the perfect time for a nice bit of full-on escapism. And so, just at the right moment, along comes Hallie Meyers-Shyer’s Home Again, a superficial, sugar-coated rom-com that’s just what the doctor ordered to chase the blues away. The writer/director has succeeded in whipping up a tasty confection that won’t leave a sour taste in your mouth. So what if the main character’s only problem is how to organise her love life while living in a fabulous Californian bungalow, bequeathed to her by her famous filmmaker father, who’s also left her an open-top vintage sports car. Sometimes it’s not a bad idea to just let yourself go and escape for a while and this is pretty much what happens in the movie too. Seriously!
Alice Kinney (Reese Witherspoon) has left her workaholic, music producer husband back in NYC and re-located to LA. She has two lovely daughters and a mother Lillian (Candice Bergen), who’s a laid-back ex-actress happy to babysit, so it’s not a bad set up for a single ‘mom’ trying to find her feet in a new town. On a night out with a bunch of gal-pals, Alice ends up partying with a trio of young guys who, along with everyone else in LA, are struggling to get their careers up and running: one’s a budding director, another a scriptwriter and the third an actor. Before you can snap your fingers, Alice has taken them in as boarders in her garden granny flat which, naturally, is decked out like something from Vogue Living.
The boys are understandably ecstatic and one in particular, Harry (Pico Alexander), has a crush on his new landlady, a crush that’s not exactly unrequited. A landlady with benefits - what could be better? Another of the boys, George (Jon Rudnitsky), also has the hots for Alice but, this being saccharine land, it doesn’t complicate the issue. When Alice’s estranged husband Austen (Michel Sheen) turns up though, things start to get messy and the boys move out. What will happen to Alice and Harry? Will she and Austen get back together? Do we really care? The film becomes a bit of a farce as these pressing matters pertaining to Alice’s relationships evolve.
Home Again is entertaining enough for a girls’ night out and provides a bit of fanciful whimsy for its audience. Witherspoon is delightful as the pixyish mum who’s trying to get her life sorted out (she’s played this sort of character before) and she’s capably supported by the rest of the cast, especially young Pico Alexander, who’s as cute as a button and well, let’s be honest here, who wouldn’t consider a fling with him? In this age of uncertainty it makes sense to live by the maxim carpe diem; after all, you never know what’s around the corner. Home Again is like fairy-floss; sweet while you’re eating it and forgotten almost as soon as it’s gone.