Cupcake-sweet romcom delivers
REESE Witherspoon’s latest star vehicle Home Again is pretty much a standard wish-fulfilment chick flick. But oh, what wishes. And oh, what fulfilment.
The ever-perky actress plays Alice, who just separated from her husband and relocated from New York to Los Angeles with her two young daughters.
Alice wants love, companionship and success as an interior decorator, although she doesn’t appear to be in any need of money. The kids, Isabel (Lola Flanery) and Rosie (Eden Grace Redfield), also want love and companionship, as well as to fit in at their new school.
Home Again is the feature debut of writer-director Hallie Meyers-shyer, the daughter of film-maker Nancy Meyers (It’s Complicated, The Intern). Mom, who has a producer role here, is clearly a major influence. The protagonists in Meyers’s movies might be a couple of decades older than the 40-year-old Alice, but the immaculate homes and gardens that star in the two women’s movies are interchangeable.
Meyers-shyer’s modest innovation is to tweak romanticcomedy conventions so they encompass the kids. Alice is courted by many men, but most of them are just as eager to charm Isabel and Rosie. Although the movie’s climactic gesture is a romcom staple, here it’s meant not for Alice, but for one of her girls.
Isabel and Rosie’s happiness is the frosting on this cupcake-sweet fable, even if the movie does spend much more time with their mom.
While out with friends to celebrate her birthday, Alice befriends three young men: Harry (Pico Alexander), Teddy (Nat Wolff) and George (Jon Rudnitsky). They’re aspiring film-makers who can’t afford their shared motel room and are installed in Alice’s guest cottage.
At first, the guys are merely grateful, but soon they’re thrilled. They recognise Alice’s mother (Candice Bergen) as a former movie star and realise that Alice’s late father is one of their favourite directors. He made sexy, edgy films back in the 1970s.
Smooth-talking Harry openly falls in love with Alice. So do Teddy and George, albeit more quietly. She doesn’t sleep with all three of them – this isn’t one of her dad’s movies – but she’s tight enough with them to trigger an explosion when her estranged husband, Austen (Michael Sheen), arrives.
But with these younger men around, winning back Alice, Isabel and Rosie is going to be more challenging than he anticipated.
Not everyone in Home Again gets what they desire, but only supporting characters lose out in this enchanted tale of family bliss and career serendipity.
If her career as director doesn’t pan out, Meyers-shyer would make an excellent fairy godmother. – The Washington Post
Clockwise, from left: Candice Bergen, Michael Sheen, Eden Grace Redfield, Nat Wolff, Reese Witherspoon, Jon Rudnitsky, Lola Flanery and Pico Alexander.