Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Tonight's Movie: Home Again (2017)

Tuesday is discount day at my local theater, so today I slipped away from my work for a long lunch break spent with the new movie HOME AGAIN (2017). I thoroughly enjoyed it.

HOME AGAIN was written and directed by Hallie Meyers-Shyer, daughter of Nancy Meyers, the filmmaker behind films such as BABY BOOM (1987), THE HOLIDAY (2006), and IT'S COMPLICATED (2009). Nancy Meyers served as one of this film's producers.

As some critics have pointed out, in HOME AGAIN Meyers-Shyer has basically made a Nancy Meyers movie, right down to the gorgeous kitchen...and that's just fine with me.

Reese Witherspoon plays Alice Kinney, daughter of a now-deceased famed movie director and his actress-muse wife (Candice Bergen, whose backstory is effectively told with early Bergen photos).

Alice has been going through a difficult time, separated from her music exec husband Austen (Michael Sheen) and relocating from New York to L.A. with her two young daughters. That said, Alice's version of a hard time is different from the average person, seeing as how she's inherited a gorgeous multimillion dollar home to live in!

Through a series of circumstances a trio of young filmmakers (Nat Wolf, Pico Alexander, and Jon Rudnitsky) move into Alice's guest house while they work to close a deal. Alice has a fling with one of the young men (Alexander), which is especially awkward once Austen shows up in L.A. On the bright side, as one of her friends points out, thanks to her tenants Alice has free child care and tech support under one roof! Movie nights with homemade tacos provided, too.

In a nutshell, HOME AGAIN is about everyone in the film, especially Alice, figuring out what they want and moving forward with their lives in a positive way.

Anyone looking for a cold hard dose of reality probably won't find it here, from Alice's luxurious digs to her not being especially pressured to earn a living to the notion of four different men showing various degrees of romantic interest in her. But reality isn't really why we're there, anyway!

We're there for the humor (the knowing Hollywood "meeting" dialogue seems right on target), the attractive cast, the interesting situations, and the oh-so-gorgeous eye candy settings, right down to the kitchen with organic cereals and an Ina Garten cookbook on the counter.

And yes, some of it is a bit predictable, but in a good way...while towards the end the film does take some unexpected, interesting directions. I didn't necessarily agree with all of Alice's decisions, especially when it came to a casual affair, but I enjoyed seeing how she worked through the consequences and what would work best for her and her daughters.

Witherspoon is great with comedic dialogue, as always, and she evokes sympathy as well. (A scene where she "puts on a happy face" for her daughters will be recognized by any parent.) The entire cast is good; in addition to the actors named above, Lake Bell (MILLION DOLLAR ARM) has a few scenes as Alice's manipulative first interior decorating client from hell.

The movie runs 97 well-paced minutes, and one of its pleasures, compared to most movies these days, is it knows when to say "The End" and not wear out its welcome.

The film was attractively shot by Dean Cundey.

Parental Advisory: This film is rated PG-13 for "thematic and sexual material." It's not for the young, although it soft-pedals some scenes and language compared to other PG-13 movies.

A trailer is here.

As Katie Walsh wrote in the Los Angeles Times, "This world doesn't quite exist, but it's an exceedingly pleasant place to escape to for a couple hours. Thank goodness the Meyers mantle has been passed on to the next generation."


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