Clichés generally get a bad reputation in movies, considering I have used clichés against movies a few times recently it is refreshing to see them used and not be horrible. Rom-coms are probably the only movies that can use a strict formula with similar results and people walk out happy with the finished product more times than not. Start out with this great woman who seems to have it all except for one linchpin. More than likely she just broke with someone and rebounds with a great guy … just someone she would never be with in a million years according to her. For some reason it kinda works out until he makes a mistake and she gets utterly crushed. She falls back with the former love who is a safer bet … but realizes she can’t settle with second best and breaks things off before going back to the newer one who completes her. Boom, I just wrote you a very high percentage of rom-coms … for a few dollars more I will throw in zaaaany sidekicks and a guy who gets treated like one of the girls!
So how does Home Again compare to the norm?
I would give it 7 “children making alcoholic drinks is funny in movies (?)” out of 10.
The movie opens with Alice Kinney (Reese Witherspoon), daughter of fake revered film director / writer, turning 40 by crying in the bathroom before taking her two young daughters to their new school since they just moved to LA from New York. During her night out with the girls, they run into three guys who came to make their movie … Harry, George, and Teddy (Pico Alexander, Jon Rudnitsky, and Nat Wolff respectively). She almost hooks up with Harry before he gets too nauseous. After Alice’s mother (Candice Bergen) meets them she insists they stay in the guest house. They help with the daughters while working on their movie and Harry starts a relationship with her that goes wrong about the same time the estranged husband (Michael Sheen) comes back … rom-com hijinks ensue.
There is something to be said about a “safe” movie where you know what to expect and everything follows a formula. There is some humor, an emotional scene, and of course eye candy for everyone. Home Again hits all the notes you would expect but still manages to throw some decent surprises by splitting up the male roles and the movie focuses more on Alice than her relationships. Then again, this is based on a Nancy Meyers starring Reese Witherspoon so if it didn’t check all the boxes then something is wrong.
The finer details were overlooked and became glaring since they remained throughout the movie. Several scenes had voice synching issues, which ended up as dialogue heavy that centered around faces to highlight it … or at least that is how it seemed. The makeup seemed very rushed and caused weird angles and shadows throughout the movie. There was a scene where a poster tube was stuck in a bush and forgotten, except it was directly behind the actors no matter the angle.
Home Again was a fun rom-com. You know what is going to happen from the beginning, but that is fine because it follows the formula and checks off all the right boxes. I wouldn’t say go out of your way to see it, but if you find yourself wanting to see a movie in theaters and have seen most everything else … go ahead.
My recommendation features one of the few roles I have seen Reese Witherspoon in where she wasn’t Reese Witherspoon … Walk the Line. It also happens to be one of the few roles I enjoyed Joaquin Phoenix in as well, throw in the fact I like Johnny Cash and you have a winner. It is a great biopic with great music, so it is worth checking out if you’ve never seen it.