Review: Home Again is about nothing

Samantha Dickson checked out Reese Witherspoon’s latest offering. Safe to say, she wishes she hadn’t bothered:

Like most women who can’t help but swoon over an old fashioned Reese Witherspoon rom-com, I was excited at the prospect of Home Again. It is understood that those partial to this easy-to-watch genre are usually forgiving of a few plot holes and unbelievable romantic gestures in exchange for a 90-minute exercise in Hollywood escapism. However, there is a line and Home Again appears to have not only found it, but crossed it, many times over.

Home Again is a white fluff Californian romantic comedy that is quite frankly about nothing. Alice Kinney is a daughter of a film star that’s led an adversity-free existence and is blessed with a Los Angeles estate and a separation at forty. Like most women who deal with divorce and venturing out alone into the world as a single mother, Alice has a million dollar property to fall back on. Phew! I was worried. Alice has two kids that are witty and quirky, or so the writers want you to believe. Lines are delivered with a side of cheese and makes me wonder why anyone ever works with children.

We are to understand that Alice leads a life of whimsy and lack of financial strain as she frolics through professions. This week, it’s interior design, but don’t worry because that’s not really important. We are given a break from Alice’s blessed existence to introduce the three struggling filmmakers. This poor man’s Entourage imitation weaves a plot of struggling white male frenzy. Apparently they’re all talented in their own way but the film assigns them each one dimensional personas like Disney did The Seven Dwarfs. Firstly there’s Handsome, he’s apparently the brains but he is in fact the picture of white male privilege and fuckboys everywhere. Then there’s Writer. He is a sensitive new-age guy that always loses. Then there’s Actor. He doesn’t get much airtime and is mostly superfluous. They’re hankering to get a movie made, staying in motels and living broke but wearing expensive sunglasses anyway.

Well, that’s all about to change when they meet Alice in a nightclub for her birthday. Handsome gets Alice drunk and you can read the plot from space. There’s scenes of conversations dulled by overthetop montage music and to be fair, the meet-cute in Knocked Up had more dialogue and depth. Handsome takes the 40-year-old home, brings his friends along to squat but vomits before finishing the job because he’s 27 and can’t handle shit. From here the movie veers desperately away from being interesting and turns into an exotic Air B&B review for separated women.

How do three complete strangers with underdeveloped personalities move into a home with children? Doesn’t matter. The filmmakers try to redeem this weirdness by creating special bonds between random 27-year-old men and minors. Handsome could care less about the kids and mostly takes part in being over the top charming in an attempt to get a sexual recommendation for his profile from his host. There is no romance and this union is hardly believable and is abandoned when Handsome blows-off Alice for a shot at fame. Great guy. He manages a teary reaction when she drops his ass and it makes zero sense.

The plot revisits that separation we were told about earlier and the desperately underused Michael Sheen reappears in LA. Suddenly, everyone is in love with Alice. Her husband, Handsome, Writer – although this isn’t really explored and is totally unnecessary.

The only person not in love with Alice is a houseplant and Actor but Actor punches the husband anyway and the three bums get evicted. For the rest of the film, the only real drama surrounds dual events in which Writer must show up for that 13-year-old who appears to be his only real friend and Alice gets an Interior Design website. The stuff of classics. The film concludes without featuring a single African American, not even in the background and everyone winds up alone and only slightly differed from two hours ago.

Home Again has more alfresco dining options than soul. This whiter than a toilet seat, mid-life fantasy doesn’t come close to feelgood. If it weren’t for Reese, who likely won this script in a bad backlot poker game, this made-for-the-plane movie wouldn’t even have been made. Only if you got delayed on a tarmac for several hours after a big night out, would I recommend this film. I can only look forward to better work from Reese Witherspoon’s actual production company.

Home again is released in Australia on 19 October 2017. For other territories, keep an eye on local listings.

Samantha Dickson


Review by Samantha Dickson.