The first time I saw Reese Witherspoon on screen was when she appeared in the movie Pleasantville, with Tobey Maguire (whom I loved in Cider House Rules). But really, I became a fan of hers with Legally Blonde and Sweet Home Alabama.
Home Again was directed by Hallie Meyers-Shyer. Her mom, Nancy Meyers, is a veteran movie director with hits like The Parent Trap, Something's Gotta Give, The Holiday, and It's Complicated. And her dad is Charles Richard Shyer, who directed Private Benjamin, Irreconcilable Differences, and the Father of the Bride movies. With a pedigree like that, it would be almost impossible for her to fail.
Knowing Meyers-Shyer is a rookie director, it was easy for me to forgive a few awkward moments and a few clichés. I brought three friends with me to the screening, and I started to shrink near the beginning of the movie with the portrayal of the typical hotelier and a few cheesy pick-up lines in the bar. However, I noticed that they were laughing along, and soon I was too, as the movie picked up steam.
Alice Kinney, Witherspoon's character, is recently separated from her husband, and moves from New York City back to her hometown of LA with their two girls. The memories of her dad are front and center as she takes up residence in his former home, and his artifacts become her treasures.
The trailer reveals that Alice takes in three aspiring movie makers, so I'm not giving anything away there, and along the way she finds a How Stella Got Her Groove Back kind of romance with a much younger man. I'm going to be honest with you here: this part reminded me so much of the summer after my own divorce that it brought back a lot of good memories of the men who helped me regain my confidence through the dating process. A couple, yes, were much younger than I was.
Alice's love interest was 27 in the film, but he looked and acted younger. By the end, I had kind of hoped she would end up with one of the other guys, but... well, you'll have to see it for yourself and decide what you think.
What I loved about this movie, despite a few quirks, was that it was funny and fun. It was not believable in several parts of the storyline, if we were living in real life, but I feel like that's the point of watching a movie: it's not real life. It's supposed to entertain you and the viewer can suspend disbelief in favor of having a good time and forgetting all of the stress of real life.
Home Again did that for me, and for the three mom friends I brought along. We had a chance to grab a bite to eat and catch up both before and after the movie, and that time is precious. Grab a girlfriend and go see Home Again, not because it's the greatest story ever told, but because it's Reese. And it's sweet relief from the news.