Home Again by Cameron Metrejean

Nancy Meyers is a director who I’ve enjoyed for many years with The Intern, The Holiday, among others. Her movies often have a glossy appearance with good actors playing characters with upscale jobs, and beautiful homes, struggling with love and age. Her movies almost always end on the positive side of “decent” with critics and enjoyment of audiences. Home Again marks the writing/directing debut of Hallie Meyers-Shyer, the aforementioned’s daughter and could easily be mistaken for one of her films as the influence from her mother is clearly there, but maybe too much with too little refinement.

Reece Witherspoon plays Alice, a mother of two entering 40 who decides to let three young aspiring filmmakers stay in her guest house. The guys turn out to be a surprisingly good fit for her and her daughters. She ends up pretty close with one of them leading to some bedroom action though afterwards neither one knows what to call it. And while the 3 guys work on trying to get their short film picked up by a distributor, Alice’s recently separated husband makes an appearance in town shaking things up. You could even say “It’s Complicated.”

“The movie just lacks refinement. This is an above average movie in its early stages but it’s like it got rushed out. The movie certainly SEEMS like it’s working. ”

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The set up isn’t too bad and the actors are all perfectly cast, especially Reece Witherspoon who I am convinced will keep her bubbly charm 50 years from now. Everything seems to have that typical Meyers’ charm. The kind where a couple eats cold leftover lasagna right out of the pan on the kitchen counter. Also with Alice being the daughter of a successful film director, it’s clear Hallie is writing from what she knows about. And she’s already accomplished every director’s dream about making a movie showing the hardships of getting a movie made, so there’s that.

So what doesn’t work about this movie? Hard to put a finger on it. Even the Rotten Tomatoes consensus simply says that all the talented people involved “have unfortunately done far better work.” Pretty vague, but it does come down to the movie playing too much on the expected and done-before.

The movie just lacks refinement. This is an above average movie in its early stages but it’s like it got rushed out. The movie certainly SEEMS like it’s working. Walking out of the theater I felt relatively ok about what I’d seen but giving it some further thought, parts of the film feel a bit too predictable. Of course there’s going to be some passive-aggressive patronizing between her ex and new younger choice, a possible fist fight that may end up in front of the girls, and some drunken conversations of regret. Too many of the same notes with not quite enough freshness and wit. Near the films “climax,” rather than a mad dash to an airport they have a mad dash to a child’s school production because she won’t be able to perform well unless she sees her special person seated there. Yeah it’s one of those things. Then we end with Alice looking pretty sure about what’s going on while the audience isn’t. One idiosyncrasy with Meyers’ films is that they frequently end on a note more pleasing to ones emotions rather than ones intelligence. i.e. long-distance couples shown happy together even though you know they are going to have to say goodbye the next day. This one tries to go for that same feeling too I guess but again, like the rest of the film it needs some tooling. Given Alice’s final decision on who she wants to be with was this much of an ending at all?

I‘m sure the general public will see this as a perfectly okay film as I did initially. It’s not a bad date flick if you’re just looking for more or less the same or don’t want anything that outdoes the average Nancy Meyers film. Home Again has all the familiarity of home but won’t take you any further.

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Cameron Metrejean — an actor, writer and film critic who loves to review films through the lens of an actor.

Cameron Metrejean is a local actor, film critic, writer and jack of all trades. You will find him around town in front of the lens and behind.

He is a passionate cinephile with a unique voice forged through industry experience.

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