Are you looking for a film with the most first world of first world problems? Are you interested in watching a paint by numbers story about a mother trying to figure out what to do with three young men living in her guest house? And the most important question of all, are you looking to burn away 97 minutes of your life which you will never get back? Might I recommend Home Again a film that answers the question, what does mom porn look like?
You might think when reading this review is that there are a lot of questions being asked, the reason is that this film will make you think but not in a way that excites you, or even entertains you. The reason for this is Home Again is the most vanilla film I’ve ever seen, it stars Reese Witherspoon as Alice Kinney a separated mother of two who has moved back to LA to her dead fathers home. She’s been trying for 5 months to get her life together and as the film opens she is at her wit’s end and she is in tears as she’s trying to reconcile with her estranged husband (Michael Sheen), find a new profession and help her children with the transition to their new school. Thankfully though it’s also her 40th Birthday so she goes out with her friends and happens across three young men. She has a fairly eventful night with them and when she wakes up the next morning her mom has allowed the three young men to stay in her guest house while they try and get their movie off the ground. The three young men are as follows – Teddy (Nat Wolff) her tech support, George (Jon Rudnitsky) her emotional support, and Harry (Pico Alexander) her sexual support.
If there was a story to this film I suppose it is about Alice trying to bring balance to her life and the many, many ways she tries to achieve that. Whether it’s through reconciliation with her husband so that her kids can feel they have the old life they loved, to trying to find a new job that might make her feel useful again there is nothing Alice won’t try including having a trio of young men become a part of her household in a premise that seems like a failed ABC sitcom. The setup of the film even lends credence to this theory when there is a sitcom-style issue every twenty minutes which is then is resolved and then followed by another zany situation, there’s even a nice neat season finale wink at the end.
The acting in Home Again, for the most part, is passable but a lack of any kind of tension in the film doesn’t allow any of the actors on hand to do anything noteworthy. Pico’s Harry is the perfect boy toy for Witherspoon and any mom’s looking to walk on the wild side as he has that puppy dog look down to a fine science and his unwavering dedication to Witherspoon will melt many hearts that wish to shun away the darkness of any kind of realism. The purity of his love is only matched by his unblemished skin. Complimenting Harry’s lust is George’s emotional cushion of a character who meets Alice’s intellect with his own because he is easily the most mature member of the New Kid’s on the Block. He bonds with her daughters, yet another way to melt a single mother’s heart, listens to her problems and worships her in a way that Harry cannot and then there is Teddy who just wants to protect her from her husband who he believes doesn’t deserve her. Honestly, Teddy is given the least amount of depth, and in this wafer-thin story that is saying something.
At the end of the day, Home Again is a black hole of a film. There is nothing within this space, it is devoid of originality, it sucks in time, destroys even light and in this critics opinion is the unfunny cousin of Three Men & a Baby, or as I like to call it Three Boys & a Reese Witherspoon. If you are a fan of Nancy Meyers you may find something here to chuckle at but beware, here be intolerable unoriginality.