No harm, no foul. Sweet Home Alabama – um, I mean, Home Again, is light and fluffy, formulaic, predictable, enjoyable and forgettable. And it serves as a pleasant alternative at the box office for those who might prefer a mindless modern romantic comedy to a horror story about a creepy clown that terrorizes and kills kids (IT).
Home Again stars the consistently likeable Reese Witherspoon (Sweet Home Alabama, Legally Blonde, Walk the Line) as Alice Kinney, a recently-separated mother of two adorably precocious girls. They’ve just moved from New York to a mansion in Los Angeles that belonged to Alice’s late father, a famous philandering filmmaker. It’s a chance for Alice to hit the reset button on her life as she approaches her 40th birthday. On said birthday, she meets three young guys who need a place to crash while waiting for their big break in the movie business. At the urging of her mother Lillian (Witherspoon’s Sweet Home Alabama costar Candice Bergen), Alice invites the trio to stay in the guest house. Meals are shared. Bonding ensues. Mistakes are made. Tears are shed. Lessons are learned. Picture Three Men and a Baby or Three’s Company with a couple of impressionable kids in the mix.
The guys are all cute and charming in their own Entourage sort of way. There’s Teddy (Nat Wolff), a sweet aspiring actor; Harry (Pico Alexander), a smooth-talking lothario with the hots for Alice; and George (John Rudnitsky), a writer with a more mature and responsible edge who may also have the hots for Alice.
Home Again is written and directed by Hallie Meyers-Shyer, daughter of prolific chickflick creator Nancy Meyers (The Holiday, The Intern, Something’s Gotta Give, etc.) who served as a Producer on the project. So Home Again looks and feels a lot like a standard Nancy Meyers flick – but without the stakes. Sure, Alice’s estranged husband Austen (Michael Sheen) shows up at a most inopportune time to reclaim his family and push the guys away. But there’s never any doubt that everyone will be just fine in the end. Home Again doesn’t break any new ground. It is, quite simply, an easy-breezy movie about friendship and family with a mix of comedy, drama, romance and eye candy. Cinematic comfort food.