It happens every year. A movie is made to look like a joyless piece of garbage by a bad trailer and poor marketing. Then, it hits screens, and surprise, it’s not half bad. Indeed, it’s even kind of good. Not in the “this is an exceptional picture” sense of the word, but in the “this is fun and charming and lit in a really comfortable way sense of the word.” Home Again is that movie.
First-time writer-director Hallie Meyers-Shyer doesn’t score a rom-com for the ages straight out of the gate, but she has all the hallmarks of a great genre film in the mix. And yes, the influence of her mother, Nancy Meyers, is palpable. Familiar beats like fresh beginnings, big kitchens, self-discovery and the right people coming along at the right time are all here. Meyers-Shyer is still defining her own voice, but until then, there are worse influences than the woman who gave us The Holiday, It’s Complicated and The Intern.
Home Again follows a newly separated mother of two. Her name is Alice, she’s just moved back to Los Angeles, after living in New York for many years, and we meet her on her fortieth birthday. She’s out, for once, and letting all of her inhibitions go. She meets three dashing, talented twentysomething filmmakers, one of whom takes a shine to her. After a night of drinking and unlikely decisions, she awakes to all three of them in her house — a development that makes an even more expected turn when her mother (Candice Bergen) and daughters turn up and immediately take a shine to the trio. This being the movies, where there are guest houses and sweet attractive boys, the boys move into the guest house, and a new kind of family starts to take shape.
Things get complicated, but they also get adorable. And so we watch a breezy slice of life unfold as everyone learns from each other and becomes better for their time together. It’s not surprising that Witherspoon can still sell a rom-com heroine. Or that Candice Bergen swoops in with some incredible one-liners. Or that Nat Wolff is dreamy and adorable. Each of these players shows up and delivers on what they’re meant to do. And though it all adds up to something that’s rather treacle-y and outlandish, it ultimately puts a smile on your face. And that’ll do just fine.