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Thursday, September 14, 2017

Home Again 2017 * * 1/2 Stars

Home AgainDirector: Hallie Meyers-Shyer
Year: 2017
Rated PG-13
Rating: * * 1/2 Stars
Cast: Reese Witherspoon, Pico Alexander, Candice Bergen

"Home again, home again, jiggety-jig". Oops, wrong movie. I'm just talking about Home Again, the 2017 vehicle starring the justly adorable, Reese Witherspoon. In truth, if you like a romantic farce mixed with the ins and outs of making it in Hollyweird, then "Again" is the flick for you.

Home Again's blithe story is as follows: Witherspoon stars as Alice Kinney. She's a 40-year-old mother of two and has been recently separated from her record producer husband (Austen played by Michael Sheen). Kinney, the daughter of a famous movie director, moves back to Los Angeles to live in her father's old house. One night, Alice goes out on the town and ends up partying with three aspiring filmmakers who are much younger than her. They all stagger back to her abode and she reluctantly plays the cougar role. She hooks up with one of them in 27-year-old Harry (played by Pico Alexander). All three gents find themselves living with Alice because they are broke and are waiting for their big, Hollywood break.

Image result for Home again movie scenesSo OK, I'm not gonna beat around the bush. Home Again feels like a been there, done that version of Something's Gotta Give. You could also throw in elements of 2009's It's Complicated. It all makes sense. "Again's" helm-er is Hallie Meyers-Shyer and she is the daughter of Nancy Meyers.

Nancy as most of you know, is responsible for Something's Gotta Give and that was a big box office hit. Meyer-Shyer is an admirable director but heck, she doesn't want to be her own person here. She'd rather emulate her mother who happens to be one of Home Again's multiple producers. The result is a sort of lightweight, situation comedy whose screenplay doesn't always ring true. I mean, is Micheal Sheen's estranged husband really that bad of a guy? And does Pico Alexander's Harry really deserve to be put out by Alice just because he missed one supper date? At times, "Again's" pseudo love story kind of comes to fruition. During other times, it feels a little unfinished and hoax-like. Take for instance Home Again's cutesy ending. It left me teetering on the edge of something. Of what I'm not quite sure.

Now Home Again and Something's Gotta Give have the same background music and the same happy happy stature. Basically, they are the cinematic equivalent of nurtured buttermilk. Both films also have scenes where people are always smiling, always laughing, and always having relaxing family dinners. I mean even when a character gets punched in the face (towards "Again's" third act), there's still a sense that everything is gonna be okay.

In conclusion, Something's Gotta Give excels in its emotional sequences between Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton. Home Again doesn't quite reach that feat. Reese Witherspoon sort of resembles the Keaton trouper but she is not given enough script material to shine. Remember when Diane Keaton got nominated for an Oscar with "Give"? Well Witherspoon is definitely not gonna get to that plateau this time around. Bottom line: There are some feel-good moments within "Again" but it's still a two and a half star rating for me.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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