September 13, 2017

Home Again: Middle-Aged Mom Dates Younger Man in Midlife-Crisis Comedy

After separating from her husband Austen (Michael Sheen), Alice Kinney (Reese Witherspoon) decides to move from Manhattan to Los Angeles with her two young daughters Rosie (Eden Grace Redfield) and Isabel (Lola Flanery). Although Alice’s father has passed away, the decision to return to the house she grew up in was easy, because the girls would live in the lap of luxury while being pampered by their grandmother Lillian (Candice Bergen).

Alice’s late father was a famous film director, however, Lillian still complains about his philandering and smugly delights in his demise, saying, “He’s gone now, so I won!” The sprawling mansion left to her by the legendary director has a storeroom stuffed with Oscars, movie posters, and other memorabilia from his Hollywood career.

Soon after arriving, Rosie and Isabel become terribly homesick. However, that’s not the case with their single mother, who heads to a bar to celebrate her 40th birthday with two long-lost friends. Next thing you know, they are sharing drinks with three young filmmakers in their 20s, one of whom, Harry (Pico Alexander), is instantly attracted to Alice.

Alice takes all three of the men home with her, and also has a one-night stand with Harry. However, when Rosie discovers her mother in bed with a stranger the next morning, she asks Alice some tough questions — “How did you meet? Did you have a sleepover?”

The plot tests credulity when grandmother Lillian, instead of objecting to the young men’s presence, invites them to move into the guest house after she learns that they’re almost broke and struggling to make it in showbiz. Next, the plot thickens when Austen arrives unannounced from New York, hoping to reconcile with his estranged wife.

Thus unfolds Home Again, a zany romantic comedy written and directed by Hallie Meyers-Shyer. Her debut is impressive, with a tasteful love triangle storyline that is reminiscent of Something’s Gotta Give (2003) and It’s Complicated (2009). This is not too surprising, since both of those hit pictures were written and directed by her Oscar nominated mother Nancy Meyers (Private Benjamin).

Excellent (****). Rated PG-13 for sexuality and mature themes. Running time: 97 minutes. Production Studio: Black Bicycle Entertainment. Distributor: Open Road Films.