Home Again (12A)

Rating:

Verdict: Needs some heart 

Here’s yet another romantic comedy about entitled, affluent, attractive, white people living in Los Angeles, in which the children are dazzlingly precocious and the adults behave like children.

That would be forgivable if it were smart, engaging or funny. But mostly it isn’t. It is populated by characters who make only tangential contact with real life as most of us understand it, and it feels like a confection from start to finish.

That’s a shame, because there is plenty of talent on show, starting with Reese Witherspoon, who plays Alice, recently relocated to LA from New York with her two young daughters and newly separated from her English music executive husband (Michael Sheen).

Here¿s yet another romantic comedy about entitled, affluent, attractive, white people living in Los Angeles, in which the children are dazzlingly precocious and the adults behave like children. Reese Witherspoon plays Alice

Here¿s yet another romantic comedy about entitled, affluent, attractive, white people living in Los Angeles, in which the children are dazzlingly precocious and the adults behave like children. Reese Witherspoon plays Alice

Here’s yet another romantic comedy about entitled, affluent, attractive, white people living in Los Angeles, in which the children are dazzlingly precocious and the adults behave like children. Reese Witherspoon plays Alice

Alice¿s late daddy, whose home she has inherited, was a famous film director. This might explain why Alice only toys with her job as an interior designer

Alice¿s late daddy, whose home she has inherited, was a famous film director. This might explain why Alice only toys with her job as an interior designer

Alice’s late daddy, whose home she has inherited, was a famous film director. This might explain why Alice only toys with her job as an interior designer

At the start of the film, Alice is turning 40 and bawling in front of the bathroom mirror (naturally). But things look up on a night out, when she and her friends meet three much younger men, aspiring film-makers in their mid-20s, who are witty and cute (naturally) and end the evening back at Alice’s place.

It is quite a place. Alice’s late daddy, whose home she has inherited, was a famous film director. This might explain why Alice only toys with her job as an interior designer.

It also sheds some light on the provenance of Home Again, for its writer-director is one Hallie Meyers-Sheyer, barely out of her twenties herself but the daughter of Hollywood’s rom-com powerhouse Nancy Meyers, who brought us The Holiday, It’s Complicated and Something’s Gotta Give.

With her mother on board as producer and a fine cast assembled, Ms Meyers-Sheyer can hardly go wrong, and yet she does. Home Again, while never exactly unwatchable, is like one of her mom’s films with the heart and lungs removed.

Harry (Pico Alexander, reminiscent of the young Rob Lowe), has the hots for Alice. These hots are fully reciprocated

Harry (Pico Alexander, reminiscent of the young Rob Lowe), has the hots for Alice. These hots are fully reciprocated

Harry (Pico Alexander, reminiscent of the young Rob Lowe), has the hots for Alice. These hots are fully reciprocated

Back to the plot. Alice’s mother (Candice Bergen, no less) was once a celebrated actress and now covers all Alice’s childcare needs. When she meets the three young strangers who have crashed at Alice’s place, she is instantly beguiled by them and encourages them to move into the lovely guest house. Of course she does.

This arrangement is somewhat complicated by the fact that the cutest but slimiest of them, Harry (Pico Alexander, reminiscent of the young Rob Lowe), has the hots for Alice. These hots are fully reciprocated. A love affair develops, which in turn is complicated by the arrival of Alice’s ex from New York. A fight ensues, one of those comedy fights that only ever happen in feeble rom-coms.

By now I think you’ve probably got the picture. Home Again is the popcorniest of popcorn flicks, but with a slickness and a raft of decent performances that might just ease your embarrassment at sitting all the way through to the end. 

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