The rom-com reaches its nadir

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - FILM REVIEWS -

HOME AGAIN Di­rected by Hal­lie Mey­ers-Shyer. Star­ring Reese Wither­spoon, Nat Wolff, Jon Rud­nit­sky, Pico Alexan­der, Michael Sheen, Candice Ber­gen. Cert 12A, gen re­lease, 97mins

Once upon a time there was a won­der­ful, mag­i­cal genre in which boys-met-girls and they would fall in ide­alised love. The end. But as time passed, hip­per, jaded au­di­ences sud­denly re­alised that meet-cute wasn’t so cute after all. Hey, rea­soned more ed­u­cated spoil­sports: An­drew Lin­coln is a stalker in

Love, Actually. And, necrophilic un­der­tones aside, isn’t San­dra Bul­lock break­ing some kind of law for the duration of While You Were Sleep­ing?

By the turn of the mil­len­nium, the rom-com was in last-minute-dash-to-the-air­port cri­sis mode, a blur of des­per­ate close-ups of Matthew McConaughey beach abs and two-forone deals: come for Tom Hardy in This Means War, and get Chris Pine for free.

It was over. And no edgy mir­a­cle makeover – yeah, you,

Train­wreck – was going to per­suade us to kiss and make up.

En­ter Reese Wither­spoon, an actor who did more to sus­tain (see Legally Blonde) and then kill the traditional rom-com (see Legally Blonde 2) than STDs and Love, Actually com­bined.

Imag­ine happening upon a small, furry, mewl­ing crea­ture which, on close in­spec­tion, has nei­ther a mouth, nor anus. That’s the hor­ror of watch­ing

Home Again. It’s not that you don’t feel des­per­ate pity. It’s just that you won­der if this isn’t the abom­i­na­tion pre­dicted in Mark, Chap­ter 13.

How can such a thing come into be­ing?

To be fair, writer-di­rec­tor Hal­lie Mey­ers-Shyer, the youngest daugh­ter of genre vet­er­ans Nancy Mey­ers (What Women Want, It’s Com­pli­cated) and Charles Shyer (Fa­ther of

the Bride) is at­tempt­ing to rein­vent the wheel.

Her film casts Wither­spoon as a di­vorced mom jug­gling an ill-de­fined in­te­rior de­sign business, two adorable chil­dren, and three hot guys who move into the pool house (huh?) at her lu­di­crously lux­u­ri­ous LA

Orally fix­ated: Reese Wither­spoonin Home Again

prop­erty. The lads, who are as­pir­ing film­mak­ers, are as fol­lows: the one who helps Reese with the kids (Jon Rud­nit­sky); the one who helps Reese with her prob­lems (Nat Wolff); and the one who helps Reese in the bed­room (Pico Alexan­der).

Candice Ber­gen, play­ing granny, drops by. Michael Sheen, es­say­ing shifty ex­hus­band, pops up. Lake Bell’s so­cialite looks in briefly.

There’s a last-minute dash to the school con­cert. There’s food. There are cock­tails and shots and din­ners and lunches and strawberries and or­anges.

Deep Throat seems com­par­a­tively less orally fix­ated.

It all amounts to pre­cisely nothing. It’s not us, rom-com. It’s you. TARA BRADY

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