Home Again (2017) Poster

(I) (2017)

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7/10
Fluffy and Forgettable
bkrauser-81-3110647 September 2017
Home Again is one of those movies that's easy to like and easy to forget. It's amateurish, the characters are flat and one-dimensional and the story is practically a celebration in vapidity and contrivance. Despite this, there's not a mean bone in Home Again's body. There's lightness to it. It's boring but charming in much the same way the interior of a Pier 1 is.

Reese Witherspoon stars as Alice Kinney, a recently separated mother of two who has returned to her childhood home in California to start over. Her mother (Bergen) and deceased father were once considered Hollywood royalty; a fact that three young potential filmmakers (Wolff, Alexander, Rudnitsky) go positively gaga for when they meet her at a bar celebrating her 40th birthday. Blah, blah, blah the three end up moving into the guest house. The estranged husband (Sheen) shows up later making four and Reese Witherspoon tries to cobble together a life amid the chaos.

Did I say chaos, I meant unrealistically utopian equilibrium. Alice and her brother-husbands seem to have little scruples about living in a house together. This is in large part because they don't display any of the negative attributes of a regular human being. Stubbornness becomes selflessness and possessiveness is painted like enamored school boy crushes. Most of the external conflicts exist despite the setup and all the internal conflicts have the undemanding clarity of a children's storybook. To top it all off we're given the comparable setting of a 30's screwball comedy, vis a vis an expansive Hollywood villa, ensuring that the prime demographic will finally have a respite from the grave, emotionally challenging story arcs of The Gilmore Girls (2000-2007).

The movie takes its reverse Three's Company (1976-1984) setup exactly where you think it's going to go. At one point one of Alice's friend's muses that she has 24-hour childcare, tech support and sex all under one roof. Because the children are around, the dynamic stays as pallid and PG as it can, with focus being constantly siphoned off into unnecessary subplots. These subplots provide the few moments of character development for the three boys, but once they're living and interacting in Alice's quaint Spanish style abode, it becomes clear that the main reason for them being in this movie is to be a plot device.

This is where, if you read way too much into it like I did, you get to the good stuff. If viewed through a specific lens, Home Again could be seen as an examination of modern gender relations. At 40, Alice struggles with never truly finding the complete package – a handsome man who can exhibit maturity, meet obligations, provide economic stability, and healthy emotional growth for her and her children while seeing Alice as an equal. This point is further highlighted by the fact that she idolizes her father despite him not exactly being a prize either. So instead of compromising she compartmentalizes. She fits the guys in this film into boxes of positive traits and for the most part, they fit them, at least until the plot deems this equilibrium is no longer stable.

Obviously this line of thought coaxes a lot of interesting questions about masculinity, femininity and modern relationships. But using this movie as a starting point for such a discussion is like reading Tarot through McDonalds Monopoly tokens. This movie isn't Antonia's Line (1995) it's Sweet Home Alabama (2002); which is to say a fluffy and forgettable piece of popular entertainment.

That said Home Again is not all that unpleasant to sit through, in large part because Witherspoon knows exactly how to move sugary confections like this. She proves effortlessly charming and despite some bad editing and awkward staging, Home Again glides on the power of her gossamer wings to give us a moderately entertaining distraction. See it if you must.
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1/10
The very essence of a bad movie
mitchel198616 October 2017
It's beyond comprehension how bad this movie is. Yes, that's an exaggeration...but this is a review so I'm allowed to exaggerate a little bit right?

I saw this at a sneak preview. During the break, when 80% of the people had already left the theater, people started clapping their hands out of misery...wondering why they were there.

Story: three young movie makers to be crash at Reese Witherspoons (guest)house, while they play with the big boys of Hollywood to turn their short movie into a big one. In the meantime, they fill the void in Reese's life in terms of sex, cooking, nannying and ICTing.

And THIS is why this movie should me avoided at all costs:

  • Flat, one-dimensional characters


  • A brainfart of a story


  • A typical unrealistic Hollywood fantasy without any comedy


  • What's up with all the sitting around the table and laughing scenes?


  • A fat Martin Sheen in a stupid role (this one doesn't really count but it bothered me)


  • How in EARTHS name does Reese pay for things? It's daddy's house, OK. But how does she pay for all her sh*t? Going out to dinner with friends, having a macbook, raising two kids and driving a bl**dy Volvo XC90 T6? Without a (steady) job?? Only in Hollywood fantasyland!


I wonder what the target group for this movie is. Here, in Holland, we are way too 'down to earth' for these kind of movies (yes, that's a flaw too).

And for all of you calling this 'lighthearted' and 'sweet', shame on you! By allowing yourself to believe that THIS is an OK movie, we as audience set the bar sub-zero for Hollywood bag boy's.

It's forgettable, utter rubbish and it hurts the eyes (to end with exaggeration again).
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2/10
Painfully boring
cnina-6134318 November 2017
This movie tries so hard to be original that the result is totally unfunny. Also, the acting is pretty bad, too, sometimes it looks quite amateurish (even Reese Witherspoon!). It's a failed attempt at making a cool family movie, the plot is just too much so over the top. If you like films that are easy to watch but still quality, look elsewhere!
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1/10
A Stinking Pile From Start to Finish
keithlgoode15 September 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Where do I begin? The very first scene, with Reece Witherspoon crying in the mirror because she's 40 is the perfect metaphor for this movie. It's the story about a shallow family who bring 3 shallow men into their home, and nothing changes. Nothing is better. Nothing is worse.

At the beginning of the movie, Reece's character is separated from her husband. They're getting a divorce, but he plans to move to L.A. to be near the kids. By the end of the movie, he lives in L.A. to be near the kids, and they're still getting a divorce.

At the beginning of the movie, the 3 pointless men are trying to get their movie made in L.A. By the end of the movie, they're still trying to get it made.

Between the beginning and the end of the movie, there are lots of scenes of white people, sitting around a table, eating food and drinking wine ... and laughing a lot. I mean, really. They laugh a lot. About what?, you may ask. I don't know. There's music playing over the conversations.

Okay. The main conflict? I'm still scratching my head trying to figure out what it was. I know there was a scene where Reece invites her boy-fling out to dinner the next night, and he tells her that he already has plans (a meeting with a producer to get funds for his movie), but he'll make it to her little dinner with her friends. Where, by the way, they sit around the table, drinking wine, eating, and laughing a lot. Except Reece, who is sighing and staring at the empty chair beside her ... or at her phone, where she's able to read up-to-the-minute text updates from boy-fling. "Hey, they just ordered more rounds." "Hey, sorry, this is going longer than expected." ... And the next morning, she's just so devastated that he didn't break away from his meeting with a Hollywood producer to attend her little laughing soiree that she just has to tearfully end it.

Apparently, there are also no people of color in L.A.. I was really surprised. I thought there would be some Latinos in the background, maybe a black person at the restaurant. No. No POCs. Except one scene in which a black guy brings the 3 bros a pizza and doesn't get tipped. Go figure.

The writing was terrible. The acting was so flat and uninspiring that I'm pretty sure someone's career will be ended by this movie. And in the end, I didn't even get to see any resolution to a story.

The only scene I could relate to was Reece crying in the mirror at the beginning. I kind of wanted to do that myself.
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It's bad, no I mean it, it's really bad
singe5944 September 2017
Let me preface this by say that I love movies, I'm not a movie snob by any stretch. I particularly love Rom-Coms and have been disappointed that they have fallen out of favor over the last decade or so. Some of my favorite movies are cheesy Rom-Coms; Never Been Kissed, 13 Going on 30, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, The Holiday and even Ghost of Girlfriends Past.

I saw this film as a pre-screener ahead of it's official release. Sometimes they pre-screen movies because they are great and want them to get buzz, sometimes they are really bad, and hope the audience falls in love before the critics get their hands on it. This is bad, really bad. Not just in story, but in acting, directing, editing score; you name it, it's bad. I love Reese Witherspoon and never thought I would see her phone in a performance but here it is. She doesn't so much as act as rolls her eyes and makes goofy faces; it's embarrassing to watch. There are so many cast members here that usually can do no wrong in my book; Candice Bergen, Lake Bell, Michael Sheen. They are given nothing to work with and Michael Sheen's character is nothing more than a cartoon. Nat Wolff is up and coming; I've seen him in a few things and think he's generally pretty good. Thanks to the very poor editing you can see him laughing in two scenes where he's clearly not supposed to be.

The whole film is just embarrassingly bad. You know the movie Mother's Day, how "bad" that is? It looks like an Oscar winning film compared to this. I looked up the movie after the screening, curious how it went so wrong. It's written and directed by Nancy Myer's daughter. Her daughter seems to have no credentials to be able to sell and direct a movie so my thought is that there were a lot of favors and strings pulled and it shows. I wouldn't even recommend watching this movie if you were sick in bed and it happened to pop up on TV.
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1/10
Yeech!!!
zardoz-1324 September 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Just because the parents made several good movies doesn't mean that they passed the 'good movie' gene along to their children. First-time writer-director Hallie Meyers-Shyer is the daughter of Nancy Meyers, who directed "What Women Want" (2000), "Something's Gotta Give" (2003), "The Holiday" (2006), "It's Complicated" (2009), and "The Intern" (2015). Furthermore, her father, Charles Shyer is best known for "Irreconcilable Differences" (1984), "Baby Boom" (1987), "Father of the Bride" (1991), "I Love Trouble" (1994), and "Father of the Bride, Part II" (1995). Now, Meyers-Shyer has made her cinematic debut as the director of "Home Again," a sickly-sweet, featherweight, contemporary romantic comedy about love, friendship, and families that comes laden with clichés. Indeed, if you look scrutinize it, you may spot the tale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears lurking in this treacle-flavored, feel-good comedy that would send a Grinch into convulsions. America's sweetheart Reese Witherspoon plays Alice Kenny, a fortysomething mom who uproots her two young daughters from New York City and moves back to her hometown Los Angeles. Alice has grown weary of her stale marriage to her smug, British-born, music mogul husband, Austen (Michael Sheen of "Passengers"), who has made it a habit of coming home with Jose Cuervo on his breath. Now that she is back in L.A., where her mom, former movie starlet Lillian Stewart (Candice Bergen of "Soldier Blue") lives, Alice decides to embark on a free-lance career as an interior home designer. Meantime, her two daughters, Isabel (Lola Flanery of "Trauma") and Rosie (Eden Grace Redfield of "The Glass Castle") find the transition from East Coast to West Coast a little disconcerting. Truth be told, Alice is feeling a bit blue, too. Among other things, this frivolous potboiler involves a May-December romance between Witherspoon and a far younger Romeo that kindles few sparks as well as some screwball humor about one of our heroine's flaky clients. Ironically, the advertising campaign for "Home Again" insists that: "Starting over is not for beginners." Comparably, starting up is not for beginners either, considering that Hallie Meyers-Shyer's freshman effort is as inoffensive as it is lukewarm.

Mind you, Alice and her daughters have little trouble finding a place to live. They settle into the palatial bungalow where Alice once lived as a child with her late father, John Kenny (David Netto), a renowned director of 1970's era art-house movies. Later, during an alcohol-fueled birthday party at a local restaurant with her girlfriends, Alice runs into three aspiring, twentysomething filmmakers who have just been evicted from their hotel because they cannot pay their rent. You couldn't find a nicer trio of handsome, charming, broke guys like Harry (Pico Alexander of "War Machine"), Teddy (Nat Wolff of "Paper Towns"), and their friend George (Jon Rudnitsky of "Patchwork"), but where did these guys get the money to pay for those drinks? Anyway, the party grows legs, and everybody winds up at Alice's place. Hormone-addled Harry cannot resist making a pass at Alice, and Alice cannot resist the 27-year old stud muffin's confidence. They wallow in some guilt-free sex behind closed doors. The two awaken the following morning without any concerns about indiscretion, and Harry treats Alice like a princess. The night before Alice went out with her girlfriends, she had entrusted Isabel and Rosie to the care and supervision of her mother. Lillian was supposed to take the girls to school. Instead, she brings them over to find everybody recovering from their mild Bacchanalian without any repercussions. It doesn't hurt matters that the guys worship the films of Alice's late father. Moreover, they not only recognize, but they also idolize Lillian, who starred in John Kenny's movies. Lillian revels in their adulation and rustles up breakfast for them while recounting her glory days in Tinseltown. Later, she convinces a reluctant Alice to let these adorable dudes move into the guest-house rent-free until they can get on their feet. As it turns out, Harry, Teddy, and George have just signed with a Hollywood talent agency, and they are struggling to get their short movie produced as a feature length film. It doesn't hurt matters that Harry's brother Teddy knows how to cook, and George becomes Isabel's best friend. Furthermore, George inspires Isabel to write a play for her elementary school about her family. Naturally, Alice's jealous husband learns about this odd arrangement and tears himself away from his business to fly out to Los Angeles so he can reunite with his daughters and perhaps even reconcile with Alice. He is also around to make sure that Alice doesn't make a fool of herself with gallant Harry. Indeed, Alice does make a fool of herself with Harry, before she realizes the error of her ways. Meantime, the guys don't care for Austen any more than he cares for them. Inevitably, this happy house of cards collapses, and Alice explains to Harry that they aren't made for each other. Teddy and Austen clash in the most inoffensive and sloppy fistfight in cinematic history. Naturally, Alice intervenes, and she sends the guys packing, much to Austen's delight. No sooner have they left the premises than Alice lowers the boom on Austen and asks for a divorce.

"Home Again" is not one of Reese Witherspoon's better efforts. It lacks the sparkle of her better movies, such as "Sweet Home Alabama" and "Freeway," and conjures up none of the wit of her "Legally Blonde" chick flicks. Nothing about this breezy but superficial saga is remotely memorable, and it relies primarily on hopeless artifice that amounts to sheer fantasy. Basically, this movie resembles a situation comedy where nobody suffers any consequences for their actions, and everybody kisses and makes up without any lingering ill will to others. Finally, most moviegoers may find it difficult to sympathize with our affluent white protagonist who doesn't have to struggle to assert herself. Ultimately, "Home Again" qualifies as 'a comfort food movie' for audiences that prefer to shun anything approaching reality.
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4/10
the buddy system
David Ferguson6 September 2017
Greetings again from the darkness. Let's just get this out of the way upfront. There is a proved and established market for mindless fluff designed to allow women to laugh at the messes created by "real life" relationships, careers, and parenting. In fact, first time writer-director Hallie Meyers-Shyer is merely continuing the traditions set by her bloodline. She is the daughter of filmmakers Nancy Meyers and Charles Shyer who shared an Oscar screen writing nomination for PRIVATE BENJAMIN (1980), and collaborated on other Romantic-Comedies such as FATHER OF THE BRIDE (I and II), and BABY BOOM (1987). Rom- Coms exist to bring some balance to the universe of Comic Book film adaptations for fan boys. It is possible to have quality filmmaking on both sides … no matter how rare it seems.

Oscar winner Reese Witherspoon stars as Alice Kinney. It's her 40th birthday, and she's a chipper lady recently separated from her music industry husband (Michael Sheen) and moved with their two daughters (Lola Flanery, Eden Grace Redfield) from New York to Los Angeles. Alice is in full "starting over" mode, including kicking off a new home decorating business. During a drunken birthday celebration with her friends, Alice hooks up with a younger man. The next morning, Alice's mom (Candice Bergen) invites Harry (the young man played by Pico Anderson) and his two buddies (Nat Wolff, Jon Rudnitsky - all 3 are budding filmmakers) to move into Alice's house. What follows is a maybe/maybe not romance between Harry and Alice, a bonding between the fellows and Alice's daughters, new business struggles for Alice, the sudden return to the scene of Alice's husband, and an endless stream of movie-making meetings for the 3 guys.

That's a recap of the story, but it doesn't address the real issue. For years, we have been hearing that the good-old-boy Hollywood network needed to back more female-centric projects: movies about women, movies directed by women, movies written by women, movies produced by women. Well this one has ALL of that, and yet I can only imagine the outrage if a man had written/directed/produced this exact film. Let's discuss.

Alice is positioned as a "brave" and "strong" woman for moving her kids across the country and starting over. What allows this woman to be so courageous? Well see, she is the daughter of a deceased filmmaker who had a successful career and left her a multi-million dollar California estate … conveniently, one with a guest house for the three young men to live in. And who in their right mind, and with two young daughters, would invite three total strangers to move in – especially the night after - even if one of them looks to be yanked right out of an Abercrombie ad? There is also Alice's interaction with her first client (played by Lake Bell). Despite despicable treatment from the rich lady, Alice doesn't stand her ground until yet another drunken bout of liquid courage occurs. The two daughters are smart and cute, but there is an obvious shortage of daily parenting happening here – the daughters seem to show up only when a dose of precociousness is required. The scenes with Alice and her estranged husband are appropriately awkward, but the communication seems hokey … at least until we witness true hokeyness in the cartoonish exchanges between the (now) four gentlemen. In fact, all male characters are written as cartoons, which we might view as "getting even" with the many times female characters were poorly written; however, since the female lead here is just as unreal, that theory doesn't hold.

The paint-by-numbers approach carries through as we check all the boxes: cute kids, a pet dog, apologetic ex, hunky new suitor, no financial hardships, loads of delightful dialogue, Ms. Witherspoon flashing more facial contortions than Jim Carrey at his peak, at least two cheesy musical montages, a mad dash to the kid's play/recital/game, and even the cherry on top … a Carole King song at the end. In a year with so many wonderful female-centric films, this one is difficult to comprehend – except that maybe, given who her parents are, perhaps Ms. Meyers-Shyer is actually the beneficiary of that good old boy network of which we've heard tell.
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1/10
"Home Again" is a clichéd, unrealistic fantasy of a rom-com.
Dave McClain9 September 2017
Have you ever been to a high school play? Those kids and their director work on it for a long time and they try really hard, but no matter what they do, no high school play is going to compete for a Tony Award – or have Hollywood studios clamoring to make the play into a movie with The Original Cast. If you're in the audience, you may enjoy some moments of the play, but you'll often get distracted by what's wrong with it. You'll surely notice some of the actors are more talented than others. There will probably be a really pretty girl who seems to be in a lot of plays and may even win some awards and she'll be acting opposite a slightly older guy with fake gray in his hair, but they'll be acting alongside guys and girls who don't quite manage to get genuine emotion into their performances. And then there's the story. Whether the script is good or not, in the hands of a bunch of high school students and a director, who is probably fairly young and may be just starting out, the play's action comes off as unrealistic and may make you roll your eyes a few times or even laugh at the production (not laugh with it – laugh AT it). Well, you may have a similar set of experiences watching the rom-com "Home Again" (PG-13, 1:37).

Alice Kinney (Oscar winner Reese Witherspoon) has come home. (She's already there when the movie begins, with no drama leading up to the actual homecoming as the movie's title seems to be implying.) She has moved from New York City, back to L.A. into the home of her late film director father and back in close contact with her former actress mother, Lillian Stewart (Golden Globe and Emmy winner and Oscar nominee Candice Bergen). Alice has brought her two daughters, insecure young teen Isabel (Lola Flanery) and the precocious little Rosie (Eden Grace Redfield), but Alice has left behind her music manager husband, Austen (Golden Globe nominee Michael Sheen). She considers herself separated from Austen and has decided to start another new career where she grew up. She freely admits that she was bad at photography and her other previous ventures, but now she thinks she can be an interior designer. She isn't hurting for money, but trying a new profession is part of trying to figure out her life.

Alice goes out with her old friends to celebrate her 40th birthday and makes some new friends – some very young new friends who become very good friends. Alice's birthday celebration merges with the night out of three aspiring filmmakers who are celebrating getting a meeting with a producer who is interested in making their acclaimed short film into a feature. This trio of 20-somethings includes the tall, suave and handsome Harry (Pico Alexander), who is the director (and the group's leader), the hard-working screenwriter George (Jon Rudnitsky) and Harry's sensitive younger brother, Teddy (Nat Wolff), the actor. The party ends up back at Alice's where everyone passes out. The next morning, Lillian shows up with the girls after spending the night together, the guys are star struck and everyone bonds over breakfast. Lillian finds out that the guys just lost their apartment and suggests that Alice let them stay in her guesthouse. She's hesitant, but agrees. Before long, Alice strikes up a romance with Harry, George mentors Isabel in her school drama activities and Austen shows that he's not so sure his marriage to Alice is really over.

"Home Again" is a clichéd, unrealistic fantasy. Everything simply happens too easily for these characters and the plot resolutions that eventually arrive are not well-earned, dramatically speaking. Not only does the script indulge about every rom-com cliché in movie history, but it has the actors do and say things that just don't ring true, making it feel more like a fantasy film than a romantic comedy. Writer-director Hallie Meyers-Shyer (daughter of successful filmmaker Nancy Meyers) can be forgiven to an extent, this being her first film as writer or director, but having an Oscar winner say lines like, "I know this, because I know this," is simply unworthy of a major motion picture. Besides, the experienced cast members should've known better, while the younger cast should've done better (or been cast better). Most of the performances lack emotional depth and most of the relationships portrayed lack cinematic chemistry.

On the positive side, this film has a bland sweetness about it, there are moments of muted joy and the set-up is fairly creative, but the setting isn't relatable to most Movie Fans and it's hard to imagine anyone considering this a quality film. As for Meyers-Shyer, she was still in her 20s when she wrote and shot this movie. Hopefully, her follow-up efforts will show some professional growth. If not, I'm sure there's a high school somewhere that could use a drama director. As for Movie Fans who go to the trouble to go out and see this movie, afterwards, you'll be happy just to be Home Again. "D+"
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1/10
So disappointed. Clitche, cheesy, boring, predictable, waste of money
barnes_email9 September 2017
Worst Reese Witherspoon movie on record. And...this movie should never have Nancy Meyers name attached to it. It was clearly written and directed by someone right out of film school.The writing was so predictable, it basically took clichés from other movies and combined them all into one. The acting was horrific... as if they took the 1st take and just said let's put it in the movie...no need to rehearse! There was an excess of montages of ppl eating and laughing. I wanted to literally puke after like the 4th one!

To conclude... I thought I was coming to see and Nancy Meyers movie, but clearly I was mistaken. The plot was unrealistic and uninteresting. The actors dry and boring, the music cheesy and over the top, and the directing simple and amateur.

Looked like a film school project by a 2nd year student.
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3/10
Limped a bit
Alanjackd30 September 2017
Have a daughter of 14 who wanted to see this so off we trotted with Nachos and drink in hand.

First seen seemed to set the scene for the next 90 or so minutes.

I shall not be too harsh here but it is a sugar coated one dimensional affair with no strategy, message or indeed outcome. Seemed to me it could be shortened down and used as a part of another movie.

From start to finish nothing seemed to happen ..the plot limped along like a wounded scriptwriter and nothing changed. You could have guessed the ending after 15 or so minutes. Don't get me wrong..it's not a BAD movie..it's made for people who have little expectation ..and that's fine ..but with a little more spent on script than locations..it could have been better.

Nothing wrong with the genre...but it can be done so much better...La La Land was a million tickets better...it can be done.

Also the crew were very tepid and uninterested..Reece Witherspoon needs to challenge a bit more...like she did in the marvelous "WILD"..shes not ready for this yet and has a lot to offer before she turns into Jennifer Anniston..as for Michael Sheen..he probably bought a few houses with the fee.

Gave it a fair 3...take your grandmother to see this for a safe bet.
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