Skip ‘Home Again’ for Homecoming



Reese Witherspoon stars in the new romantic comedy “Home Again.” The film, directed by Hallie Meyers-Shyer, has been panned by critics. It currently carries a 31 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

CLINTON OLSASKY, Executive Editor | [email protected]

Whatever goodwill Reese Witherspoon may have earned from critics with her widely acclaimed 2014 film “Wild” has all but dissipated with the painfully unfunny and inexcusably hackneyed “Home Again.”

The film, written and directed by Hallie Meyers-Shyer in her directorial debut, follows Alice Kinney (Witherspoon), a mother living in Los Angeles who had recently separated from her husband and whose life changes upon a chance meeting with three young, aspiring filmmakers.

Now, if that yawn-inducing synopsis isn’t enough to keep you away from “Home Again,” prepare to bring a pillow and a blanket with you to the theater because the film, I assure you, is nothing more than an ungodly snooze fest.

Directing: 1/5

Although the film’s biggest weakness is certainly the incredibly trite and uninteresting story at hand, Meyers-Shyer’s directing also proves to be a severe detriment to “Home Again.” Not once do the film’s visuals move you to feel any emotional response other than mind-numbing boredom.

In fact, for the parts of the movie during which you’re awake, the only emotion you’re likely to feel is the deep regret for having wasted your time and money on such an empty and hollow film.

The film’s uninspiring visual aesthetic aside, Meyers-Shyer also lets her inexperience in the director’s chair show through through nonsensical editing choices.

Indeed, Meyers-Shyer often opts for inexplicable cuts and close-ups that add nothing to particular scenes and only distract the viewer momentarily from the overwhelming monotony that characterizes the film’s central narrative.

Writing: 1/5

“Home Again” suffers from a complete and utter lack of narrative depth, which can largely be attributed to the thinly written characters that populate the film.

Witherspoon’s Alice, in particular, never comes into her own as a fully developed character.

Her interactions with her daughters, as well as with the three young filmmakers that end up living with her, come across as forced and artificial.

In fact, the budding relationship that develops between Alice and the equally flat and uninteresting Harry (Pico Alexander) also appear incredibly artificial due to the fact that their romance seemingly arises out of thin air.

In addition to the absence of round and fully developed characters, “Home Again” suffers from the lack of any real stakes.

Not once do you feel any empathy or concern for any of the characters in the film, as their “problems” and “struggles” often amount to nothing more than running late for a date or having to run an errand at the last minute.

The failure to convey any characters in “Home Again” as believable or empathetic human beings is certainly indicative of lazy writing on behalf of Meyers-Shyer.

And yet, the film’s incoherent and disjointed screenplay may only be matched by the woefully untalented crop of actors that portray the banal group of characters that inhabit “Home Again.”

Acting: 1/5

At the risk of verging into the realm of hyperbole, “Home Again” may be the premiere showcase for insipid, uninspired and lackluster acting in a major Hollywood film this year.

Again, Witherspoon may have hit a new career low point with “Home Again,” as her portrayal of Alice isn’t only lacking in emotional depth; it’s actually characterized by actively poor acting choices.

Whether it be unconvincing crying or laughable moments of so-called “intimacy” with her romantic interest, Witherspoon seemingly forgot how to act while on set of Meyers-Shyer’s lifeless rom-com.

Pico Alexander’s portrayal of Witherspoon’s love interest Harry is equally emotionally hollow. Alexander brings nothing to his character outside of his superficial good looks, as his black hole of a personality sucks any semblance of charm out of any scene he enters.

Nat Wolff and Saturday Night Live reject Jon Rudnitsky are similarly vapid in their portrayals of Harry’s filmmaking buddies Teddy and George, respectively.

And even with otherwise capable actors like Michael Sheen and Candice Bergen comprising the rest of the film’s supporting cast, Meyer-Shyer’s unimaginative screenplay ultimately proves to be too much for any cast member to overcome based on acting ability alone.

Overall: 1/5

The inexplicably bad directing, writing and acting on display in “Home Again” come together  to create a truly contrived and cliché-ridden romantic comedy that may prove to be the final nail in the coffin for a genre that has seen a rather precipitous decline in quality entries in recent years (notwithstanding this year’s remarkably refreshing “The Big Sick”).

To put it simply, “Home Again” is one of the most pathetic excuses for a movie to be churned out of the Hollywood machine in recent memory.

By the time the end credits roll, you may be reconsidering any future trips to the local multiplex, even going so far as to never leave home again.