IHGB Movie Review: Home Again

IHGB Movie Review: Home Again

Rated: PG-13
Starring: Reese Witherspoon and Pico Alexander

The Trailer:

The Gist:
Do whatever you want on your fortieth birthday. There are no rules! But take heart. The sun will rise the next morning and showcase your celebratory choices from the previous night.

Disclaimer:
I feel like I need to introduce this movie review with a rather large disclaimer that rears its head often on my website. I believe we are in a romance/romantic comedy drought and have been for many, many years. I’ve talked about it several times on this blog and I even posted a podcast about it HERE.

I long for the days of watching Sandra Bullock’s hijinks while someone is sleeping. Who wouldn’t want to see Julia Roberts sabotage her best friend’s wedding? Why can’t I root for Meg Ryan to figure out that Harry is her lobster?

Many of you, and I mean MANY of you, have strong feelings about romantic movies. I have never received so many comments, emails, texts, and phone calls as I did with the romance podcast. The way you compassionately defend You’ve Got Mail and Notting Hill makes me smile. And it makes me a little scared.

Here’s the deal: Nicholas Sparks ruined things for me. My love story bar is The Notebook. Noah Calhoun for crying out loud! I’ve been waiting for someone to even come close for the last thirteen years, but pretty much every romance movie falls woefully short in that department.

My roommate Lara and I talk about Hollywood’s lack of love stories ALL THE TIME. It’s a problem, we know, yet neither of us is willing to seek therapeutic attention, although I fear that an intervention by our Bachelor-watching group is inevitable.

I feel like most of the movies today are all about CGI villains, blood, death, war, car chases, more death, brooding, guns, and secret societies of bad guys. Want to go see a movie about cartoon emojis? No problem! Can I offer you a creepy doll or scary clown holding a balloon? Take your pick!

I’m all about the superhero movies and heartfelt dramas with a good message. With that said, those come around at the blink of an eye. If you missed Spider-Man, have no fear! Thor hits movie theaters in the coming weeks!

Do you see my point? Since movie makers refuse to pour into the romance genre, I had to make adjustments in my grading scale since they come out once in a blue moon.

Therefore, even though Home Again received abysmal numbers on Rotten Tomatoes, I went in with an open mind and managed hopes. They were high hopes when I first saw the trailer, but the hopes were reigned back in one the way to the theater.

I wanted this movie to be good. I NEEDED this movie to be good. The weight of the world rests on Reese Witherspoon’s shoulders, and as the new Sandy B, Jules, and Meg, I longed for this movie to perform well.

Did I absolutely love it with all my heart and soul? Not quite. Did I feel that it delivered as a solid romantic comedy? I do. Will I more than likely own it when it comes out digitally? Indeed.

Here’s why…

  • Home Again was not released by a major movie company. It’s considered an independent film. I listened to an interview on NPR (nerd alert!) where writer and director Hallie Meyers-Shyer opened up about the advice her mom (Nancy Meyers…who I adore) gave her. She said that Hollywood wouldn’t be interested in a romantic comedy, because they don’t make a lot of money in today’s world of aliens and soldiers. Going independent meant she would have more freedom, yet she wouldn’t have the movie company’s marketing machine at her disposal.
  • Nancy also went on to say that this is an unfortunate trend in Hollywood. Nancy’s critically acclaimed It’s Complicated, produced by Universal Pictures, was a commercial success grossing $219 million dollars. That was in 2009. She said there’s no way she can see major studios embracing a romance in today’s blockbuster market.
  • Home Again has already made $12 million in one week. Suck it, Hollywood.
  • Reese Witherspoon is soooooo Reese Witherspoon in this movie. I like to think it’s how she handles real life. She’s a good mom, a hardworking career woman, a rule follower for the most part, and one who relents everything once a year on her birthday.
  • Enter Pico Alexander.
  • Y’all this guy is one of the reasons you need to go see this movie on the big screen. Forget his looks for just a minute. What I love about his character is that he is both vulnerable and smooth at the same time. He’s respectful and flirtatious. It all balances out.
  • Now some of you are wondering, “What in the world, Lincee. You didn’t get oog’d out by a 26-year-old flirting with a newly 40-year-old, recently separated woman with two daughters?” Good question. I’ll admit that the thought of this being a “throw all caution to the wind” movie bothered me at first, but that’s not what it is at all. I think caution was thrown on the first night Reese meets Pico and his two business partners, but nothing happens other than a fun party. What you see in the trailer is convenient editing.
  • Reese doesn’t even want the three guys staying in her guest house. It’s her mother’s idea to give the budding film makers a free place to stay in exchange for dinner duty and occasional Uber driving.
  • It’s a slow burn. And Pico uses his height, his strong jawline, his soulful eyes, and his incredible dimples to methodically peel the onion.
  • I can’t wait for you to see the scene in the kitchen with the broken cabinet.
  • And if Pico isn’t enough, Nat Wolff and Jon Rudnitsky (Pico’s two business partners) are equally charming and adorable. I love all three boys and want their movie to succeed!
  • Reese’s daughters are the prettiest girls I’ve ever seen in my life. Their expressions and one liners provide a lot of comic relief in uncomfortable moments.
  • Candice Bergen can do no wrong in my book.
  • Although Michael Sheen looks a tad like a homeless boat captain, he has incredible timing and witty banter as the estranged husband/father in regard to the unexpected house guests.
  • Nancy Meyers’ films are known for breath-taking sets. Most of her work includes a script built around a home environment. Each time I leave her movies, I have living room or kitchen envy. The same can be said for Home Again. Hallie’s mom taught her well.

Survey Says:
Critics may hate it, but I think general audiences who enjoy a good romantic comedy will also enjoy Home Again. For those of you who flock to the Hallmark Channel after Thanksgiving, you definitely need to see this flick.

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Lanna
Lanna

I am a sucker for Reese Witherspoon. Heck, I even liked her quirky late 90s movie with Paul Rudd when she plays a stripper (“Overnight Delivery” I think). I am SO glad that you give this movie a good review. I too was leery about it with the previews making it look kind of wild. I will definitely plan a girls movie night to watch it now! And I agree — the last romantic movie I went to in the theatre was The Vow, I think. It’s been WAY TOO LONG, Hollywood. Oh and based on your podcast – I finally saw Crazy Stupid Love and LOVED it. I can’t believe I hadn’t seen it yet.
xoxo,
Lanna

Roseann
Roseann

Went to see a movie today. The very handsome, very young leading man was quite swoonable.

I IMDB’d him and found out his dad is a Director of Photography in the movie business – whom I had worked with a few times. Then I remembered when the DP brought along his 6 year old son for a day. I spent a little time with him. Cute kid who grew up to be exceedingly swoonable….

Shelley Hodges

It was my choice movie to see before baby arrives this week. I wasn’t sure about the age difference etc but think they did a great job with it and the characters. I’d recommend it for someone in need of a good chick flick. And… I want everything about that house!

Katie Martin
Katie Martin

Ok I am SO glad I read this!!!! We were going to go see this movie last weekend but with all the negative reviews (typically I don’t pay attention to bad reviews but I didn’t want to be set up for disappointment in a romantic comedy) we didn’t go. But after reading this, I’m intrigued!

Ann
Ann

Thanks! I had stayed away from this movie because of the reviews and this has changed my mind.

For a romantic movie, I’d like to give “The Big Sick” a plug. That was my favorite summer movie this year.

Joan
Joan

I loved “The Big Sick” as well. I went into it thinking it would be typical Judd Apatow…lots of crude humor. It wasn’t at all. That was my favorite movie also this summer. A good romantic comedy. Now streaming on Amazon!

TexasRed
TexasRed

You nailed it with Michael Sheen looking like a homeless boat captain.
I couldn’t put my finger on it, but he definitely looked like he had been searching for his white whale.

toointothis
toointothis

Thank you, thank you for referencing the Hallmark Channel!! My best friend and I get so excited for after-Thanksgiving Hallmark movies!! Totally just texted her your review. Excited to go see it!! Reese Witherspoon is just the best!

Paula Winn
Paula Winn

I’m almost embarrassed to admit it, but I loved this movie. It was beautifully shot. The vistas were gorgeous and I too wanted her house. The young men were so charming and sweet that somehow having them around felt like a family. I thought it was a charming movie. It didn’t take long to overlook the age difference. You find yourself pulling for the relationship, just as you should in a good rom-com.

Alyce
Alyce

I just might go see this movie thanks to your review. So thank you.

And I hate The Notebook. I think I’m the only woman in the world who feels that way, but it is nevertheless true.