Acting - The performance in the film is bland and uninspiring. Direction - Hallie Meyers-Shyer is unable to get anything out of this cast. Writing - The writing is contrived and doesn't make much sense at times. Cinematography- There is nothing visually appealing in this release. Music- The score is grating and elicits visions of melodrama rather than anything resembling love or forgiveness.
Home Again is a combination of horrible casting, horrendous writing, and terrible performances, resulting in one of the worst releases of 2017.
Alice (Reese Witherspoon) is a separated mother who has just moved back to Los Angeles to start over with her two daughters. She isn’t in the same boat as most single mothers as she moving back into a mansion which she inherited from her late father (who just happens to be an Oscar winning director) and a vintage sports car (seems totally legit). The good thing is that now she’s closer to her mother (who happens to be a former actress played by Candice Bergen). The downside apparently is the idea that she’s turning 40 and life is kicking her butt (eye-roll). So rather than coming to grips with her birthday, she turns towards going out and blowing off a little steam drinking. While out she runs into three guys (Nat Wolff, Jon Rudnitsky, and Pico Alexander) who are filmmakers celebrating their forthcoming movie deal. A few drinks turned into shots of tequila and they all end up back at Alice’s house to crash overnight. Her mom shows up the next day with the kids (I guess they were having a sleep over) and stumbles upon this gaggle of men at her daughter’s house. Rather than questioning Alice’s judgement, her mother sees this as an opportunity to have some help for her daughter around the house. This appears to be a good idea until her ex-husband (Micheal Sheen) gets back into the picture.
Except for the rare instance where Candice Bergen’s character was able to get off a comedic zinger, nothing worked. A majority of the film was spent in complete silence as none of the obvious moments that were written to provide some levity to the film even elicited a faint chuckle.
What Didn’t Work
Wolff, Rudnitsky, and Alexander were terrible selections to portray the new men in Alice’s life. Their portrayal was stale and seemed more fit for Days of our Lives rather than a feature film. Those three actors had little chemistry with Witherspoon and managed to bring any scene to a screeching halt.
Hallie Meyers-Shyer proves that at this point in her career she is incapable of crafting a compelling storyline. Instead of creating a compelling storyline involving a single mom and how she’s dealing with her newly separation, too much emphasis was placed on Alice’s mid-life crisis. Instead of watching this film and relating to her issues with turning 40, most of the time I was shaking my head wondering what was wrong with her. While it’s easy to see that she was trying to be contrarian and come up with a different take on this type of narrative, but the content had better be well written in order to pull that off.
Witherspoon gives the single worst performance of her acting career. There is no angst or any anguish over her personal life falling apart. At times she’s flirtatious and other times she longing for a new career, neither of which matches what’s unfolding in this story. After the work she put in during HBO‘s Big Little Lies and Wild, to see this type of performance is downright shocking.
Dean Cundey who is best known for his cinematographic work on the Back to the Future trilogy didn’t contribute anything visually to help enhance this storyline. It was one boring shot after another (none of which connected what was unfolding on screen).
I’ve never in all of my years of reviewing movies have witnessed multiple critics leaving before the end of an eerily silent screening. Home Again is a failure on multiple levels. While some will pay to see this as an escape from what’s been happening in the world, the only thing audience will feel when they leave the screening is rage. Why did I pay to this horrible film? If anyone in your family is dying to see this romantic comedy starring Reese Witherspoon, tell then to rent Sweet Home Alabama. My biggest regret is that I stayed for the whole film rather leaving with the other critics when they did.