(Rated PG-13) 3 1/2 Blondes (out of 4)
Ever since the 2001 film “Legally Blonde” I have been a Reese Witherspoon fan. Yes, the actress had appeared in movies since 1991, but her role as Elle Woods really made her popular and sent her to A-list status. The Louisiana born and Tennessee raised Witherspoon is appearing in the current romantic comedy “Home Again”, and the film is tailor made for actress.
With her winning personality and sweet smile, Reese gives Dolly Parton (who the actress said she would like to be) a run for her money in the personality department. Great persona aside, Reese stars as Alice Kinney, the daughter of a famous deceased Hollywood film director who has left her recorder producer husband, Austen (Michael Sheen), behind in New York to return to her native Los Angeles. Alice moves into her late father’s home with her two daughters with the plan of starting her her own interior design business. Her mother, Lillian (Candice Bergen), a former actress also lives in L.A., so Alice is not exactly returning to a no relatives in town situation. However, matters turn interesting when Alice and her friends meet up with three young aspiring filmmakers who have come to L.A. to pitch their script.
The guys Alice meets are Harry (Pico Alexander), Teddy (Nat Wolff), Harry’s actor brother, and George (Jon Rudnitsky), the screenwriter of the trio. Alice finds herself drawn to Harry, and even though he is in his late 20’s and Alice has just turned 40, their attraction is mutual. After a night of dinner and dancing, Alice, her girlfriends, and the three guys crash at Alice’s house. The following morning Lillian shows up to pick up her granddaughters and discovers the unexpected house guests. Lillian discovers the lads are a huge fan of her late filmmaker husband, and they hit it off to the point she suggests Alice board the trio in the guest house. Even though she is reluctant, Alice relents, let’s the guys move in. The guys immediately pitch in to help around the house, leading Alice and her daughters to develop a strong bond with the trio. Alice and Harry are soon romantically entangled, which is fine until the appearance of Alice’s estranged husband Austen catches everyone off guard. Austen has show up to declare he wants to reunite with Alice, much to the chagrin of Harry and shock of Alice. The reemergence of Austen leads to several awkward moments with the house guests. If Alice thought she was confused before, she is even more so now. As expected, with most films of this ilk, all does end well, but not necessarily in the way one might imagine. I must say this film is well cast, and all the actors manage to avoid being overshadowed by the illumination of Reese. The actors playing the aspiring filmmakers were all wonderful, with, in my opinion, Rudnitsky being the standout among the trio. It was also enjoyable seeing Candice Bergen on the big screen again, and she was perfectly cast as Reese’s mother. As for Sheen, I am normally a fan of his work, but his character was so annoying I wanted him off the screen as quickly a possible. Thus he succeeded in making his character a chore to endure.
As for Reese, she is at the top of her her romantic comedy game, and is a pure delight to watch as she navigates the challenges of her characters life. I was impressed the director, Hallie Meyers-Shyer (“The Parent Trap”) kept the film out of schmaltz territory, and left us with a charming film. For an enjoyable time at the movies, “Home Again” will leave you feeling all warm and fuzzy, something we need right now.