"Home Again" is a cute bundle of tired themes

A film for romantics who don't mind monotony

Hilarious attorney at law, thoughtful backpacker, not-so-little-liar, jaw-dropping carnival performer: yes, Reese Witherspoon has worn many hats and while “Home Again” isn’t anything so extraordinary, Witherspoon’s comforting motherly figure is welcomed with open arms.

“Home Again” tells the story of Alice Kinney, played by Witherspoon, who is a recently separated mother of two, living in the Hollywood home of her deceased father, who was once a big-time Hollywood director. Feeling down about her recent separation, moving her kids across the country to Los Angeles and genuinely uninterested in her new client, she feels incomplete. 

In enters a trio of Hollywood hopefuls looking for their big-break and after Kinney’s mother graciously offers them a spot in Kinney’s guest house, she finds herself in a whirlwind full of love, laughter and life.

The film has all the makings of the heart-warming romantic-comedy its trailer promises. It is full of love, laugher and life. However, the story itself isn’t all that different from the countless romantic-comedies that populate Hollywood. 

A woman meets a man —in the form of the young and charming Harry (Pico Alexander) — the two fall for one another, the romance is complicated, the family hangs in the balance, the two learn something new about each other, what family means, mix in some wholesome jokes and boom! You’ve got your film. 

While this formula definitely has its charms, it is also what keeps the film from truly being memorable. The plot is predictable nearly from start to finish. You don’t need to be a fortuneteller to know that this movie wasn’t going to hit any eye-opening themes. 

Its chance to really do so is skimmed over as the film lightly touches on the fact that older men date younger women all the time and that the reverse should be acceptable as well. The conversation lasts about two minutes in total. A great opportunity to add to real substance to a romantic-comedy revolving around family, missed. 

Instead, the traditional tropes of jealousy, finding-oneself and the idea of what family really means are emphasized, but in such a casual way that it doesn’t feel significant enough. 

What this film does excel at though is its exuberant amount of heart. Even though the film took a more conservative approach to this romantic-comedy, that doesn’t mean it didn’t do it well. 

The jokes are cute. The relationships between the three men, the children and Kinney appear genuine. Harry and Kinney’s relationship is mature and full of respect. Three perfect bull’s-eyes.

Witherspoon’s character is also a welcome portrayal of a woman who is figuring out who she is without having to drastically blow up her life. In fact, it seems natural and real in a way that is refreshing. Every time she interacts with a character illustrates a woman full of wisdom who is learning to trust in that intelligence. 

There is even a wonderful scene between her and Harry where she doesn’t blow up at him, but instead says she needs to put her ducks in a row, proving that you don’t need to scream and go into a full monologue to be strong and independent. 

It is probably this near perfect portrayal of the appropriate way to deal with a life crisis that is the film’s fault. 

Things line up too neatly towards the film’s ending, there doesn’t seem to be enough depth to the film’s characters and the plot isn’t nearly as satisfying as it could be.

While Witherspoon’s performance as a single mother is as comforting and wholesome as it gets, the films formulaic and predictable journey just isn’t enough to feel completely satisfied with the result. 

Overall score: 3/5

Reach the reporter at balnero13@gmail.com or follow @BaldnerOwen on Twitter.

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