Friday, September 15, 2017

Movie Review: "Home Again" (2017)

Director: Hallie Meyers-Shyer
Year: 2017
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hour, 37 minutes

A mother of two going through a separation meets a trio of twenty-something aspiring filmmakers at her 40th birthday party. Her mother invites these three men to stay in her daughter's guest house while they try and get their movie made. Once there, they start to make a huge impact on each other's lives.

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh boy, "Home Again" was a hard one to get through. After it was over and we had suffered through its mere 97-minute runtime, we asked ourselves, "how does a movie like this get made?" And a follow-up question, "how does a movie like this get made in 2017?" The only answer we can come up with is nepotism!

This film is written and directed by Hallie Meyers-Shyer, who is the daughter of Nancy Meyers, the new rom-com queen. Nancy Meyers has directed movie like "The Holiday," "It's Complicated," and "The Intern," and Charles Shyer is the director of "Baby Boom" and both "Father of the Bride" films, one of which we love (the first) and one of which we hate (the second). One would think Hallie Meyers-Shyer would know a thing or two about the film industry, but clearly, she doesn't.

This movie stars Reese "You're About to Find Out Who I Am" Witherspoon as Alice Kinney, the daughter of an Oscar-winning director and a mother of two who recently separated from her record-producer husband Austen, played by Michael Sheen. Alice left New York to move back to her childhood home, a quaint, rustic many thousand square foot estate complete with sprawling guest house, both manufactured to look like models home, because she couldn't handle the partying and wanted Austen to stop partying, too. She's just ~*so brave!!!!11~* On the night of her 40th birthday, which is "her own personal New Years Eve," she meets a trio of young aspiring filmmakers named Teddy, George, and Harry, played by Nat Wolff, Jon Rudnitsky, and Pico Alexander, who after spending a partying montage together, end up crashing at her place. Alice's mom Lillian, played by Candice Bergen, hears that the boys don't have a place to stay, so after an afternoon with these three young strangers, she takes it upon herself to invite them to stay in her daughter's guest house. Intrusion much? Lucky for Alice, in addition to three people who will give her free childcare at the drop of a hat, one of the guys is a great cook, the other is a wonderful shoulder to cry on/errand boy, and the last one is a fun super sexy sex toy. She's got it made!

"Home Again" is one of the most artificial, disingenuous movies we have ever seen, almost to "Collateral Beauty" levels. How can it be that Hallie Meyers-Shyer doesn't understand people, doesn't understand film, and doesn't even have a basic understanding of what it's like working in Hollywood? SHE IS THE DAUGHTER OF TWO FILMMAKERS! Remember when your aunt was screaming about Hollywood elitism on Facebook last week? She's talking about people like Hallie Meyers-Shyer, who is the walking, talking, breathing definition of living a life of privilege. This is CLEARLY all she knows how to portray.

We honestly can't even call this trio of guys struggling artists. These chuckleheads supposedly can't afford rent, but they can afford to line up shot after shot at a bar. None of them works a regular job while waiting for their film careers to take off, but they also can't take another acting or writing gig while completing their film out of fear of disappointing Harry. They get free room and board in exchange for a little bit of babysitting, cooking, some amateur therapy, and a little sexy sex with mama Reese, all while they wheel and deal with producers and financial backers. It's a complete fantasy, and that might be ok if any of the characters felt any percentage like real people.

The dialogue and writing are horrendous. One of Allie's daughters is literally nicknamed Rosebud. YOU CAN'T MAKE THIS SHIT UP.  The story is riddled with cliches, from portraying the plight of "struggling" artists to an ex-husband who wants to fix their broken marriage after a few months without her, from a child participating in some form of play at the end of the movie that everyone has to rush to in the final moments of the film to Reese Witherspoon's "adorkable" acting which is now tired and desperate and doesn't fly anymore..we can go on, but we'll spare you. The story quickly tries to pivot and briefly make it about women in their 40's liberating themselves from the shackles of the stigmas associated with dating younger men because "if they can do it, so can I!" Sure they can! Hell yes, absolutely they can! But why include a one-off line about it when this movie isn't even about that?! The jokes are lazy and unfunny. This movie is absolutely bland in every single way, from uninspired camerawork to the directing, from the acting to the pitifully and vapidly written characters. We giggled once at something Candice Bergen said, but we can't remember what it was because nothing about this movie is memorable. Michael Sheen, you are better than this, what the hell are you doing?

It was a genuine struggle to get through "Home Again," an absolutely atrocious piece of Hollywood elitism. It's a bored housewife fantasy like "Fifty Shades of Grey," but without all of the S&M and remarkably even less chemistry. We absolutely hated every moment of it.
My Rating: 1.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 1.5/10
IMDB's Rating: ~5.6/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: ~32%
Do we recommend this movie: AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE!!!

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