It’s always interesting to see the children of substantial writer/directors find their voice in cinema. When it comes to the scion of famous actors it’s one thing; it’s hard to see Colin Hanks without seeing his substantially more famous father. It’s easier behind the camera and Hallie Meyers-Shyer, daughter of Nancy Meyers, seems destined to make a film like Home Again.
It’d be like one of Michael Bay’s children directing a $200 million big, dumb action film at some point in the near future; you’d hope they’d have higher aspirations but one imagines that it wouldn’t be hard to learn how to tell that particular type of story when you’re learning from a master of that craft.
Unfortunately, Home Again has the feel of a project that wouldn’t have gotten off the ground if it wasn’t for Meyers-Shyer and her famous mother producing it.
Simple premise. Alice (Reese Witherspoon) is separated from her husband and looking to start over in her mother’s house. Her father is a deceased director of some note, of course, and wouldn’t you know it three obnoxious young men (Pico Alexander, Jon Rudnitsky and Nat Wolff) wander into her life. When her separated husband (Michael Sheen) tries to win her back, while Alice is seeing one of the boys (and they all live together, whacky enough), Alice has to figure out what to do with her life. Throw in the boys trying to sell their short film as a feature, as the secondary plotline, and you have all the prerequisites for something that could be interesting.
The problem is that the film doesn’t do much to try and make us care about these characters outside of being a more expensive Lifetime film about the problems of the rich and famous. One could be tempted to call this “White People Problems” and market it as satire, of course, but there’s something interesting here waiting to come out.
Alice trying to start over, with a much younger man and her soon to be ex-husband, is an interesting beginning and there’s enough talent in front of the camera to really flesh everything out. It’s just that the film doesn’t make anyone relatable to people beyond a certain sect in a financial and geographical location. It’s hard to root for anyone, or even Alice for the matter, because of it.
There’s no genuine struggle or reason for us to care, which is a shame because with those in front of (and behind) the camera there’s the potential for a genuinely interesting film. As it is, Home Again is a passable Netflix viewing.
A commentary track is the highlight.
Universal presents Home Again. Written and directed by Hallie Meyers-Shyer. Starring Martin Sheen, Reese Witherspoon. Run Time: 97 minutes. PG-13 Rating. Released on: 12.5.17
Tags: Reese Witherspoon