Obviously, life in Hollywood is much different from the Hollywood we often see in the movies, yet Home Again can’t seem to tell the difference.
Indeed, not much feels authentic about this predictable sitcom-level romantic comedy masquerading as a heartfelt female-empowerment saga.
Alice (Reese Witherspoon) is trying to reset her life as a single mother of two precocious daughters after a recent separation from a prominent music producer (Michael Sheen). So she moves to Los Angeles, into the family house that was home to her famous filmmaker dad until his recent death.
While working as an interior decorator, Alice has a chance encounter at a bar with three young men trying to find investors for their short film — director Harry (Pico Alexander), screenwriter George (Jon Rudnitsky), and actor Teddy (Nat Wolff). Following a night of partying that ended with a one-night stand, the guys wind up moving into Alice’s guest house while they get on their feet.
That scenario leads to plenty of awkwardness as the guys practically become surrogate fathers to Alice’s kiddos — something that lures their real dad back into the picture — and their road to maturity coincides with Alice’s self-discovery.
There might be some autobiographical roots within the directorial debut of Hallie Meyers-Shyer, the 30-year-old daughter of Hollywood filmmakers Nancy Meyers (What Women Want) and Charles Shyer (Father of the Bride). Between the punchlines, she offers a half-hearted examination of progressive parenting, the cutthroat nature of showbiz, the pressure of a family legacy, and staying true to your creative vision.
Witherspoon brings her usual perky charisma to her portrayal of a woman enduring a mild midlife crisis while trying not to seem desperate and needy. Candice Bergen steals a few scenes as her ex-diva mother. But the scheming trio of aspiring artistes is more pretentious than charming.
The same can essentially be said for Meyers-Shyer’s screenplay, in which the dialogue rarely sounds like real people talking, from the pick-up lines to the investor pitches to the inevitable arguments that populate films about fractured families.
There are some scattered laughs amid the contrived cuteness. Yet for a film about lost souls, Home Again doesn’t provide much emotional incentive for caring about what they find.