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'Home Again' disappoints with lack of solid screenplay, despite film's touching moments

Movie Theater (Alexandre Chassignon / CC BY-SA 2.0/MGN Online)

HOME AGAIN (2017)

Score: C

Rated PG -- 96 minutes

"I hate to pan a movie, but..."

I hate to pan a movie -- to be so severe in my overall evaluation. And I really hate that as a result of being so critical of one film, someone might skip going to see a movie (any movie) because of what I have written. But, that is my job.

Which leads me to my "forever dilemma" as a film critic. With so much time, money and effort -- combined with so much talent involved in one single project -- why oh why are there so many mediocre films being released this year?

Think of just how many talented people are all involved in one project at the same time. There are producers who have to raise the millions of dollars necessary to complete and then promote the film. The casting begins. I could go on and on. Hundreds of people all working so hard to ensure that the studio will show a profit at the end of the day. And for those in their respective Hollywood crafts -- from cinematography to editing, costuming to musical score -- in the end, a bit of recognition for a job well done.

It is not that HOME AGAIN is so bad. It is that HOME AGAIN is just not so good. With Oscar winner Reese Witherspoon in the lead role and with Hollywood legend Candice Bergen in a supporting role, we all should have expected to find a better film. Which leads me to the culprit in this review.

It is the direction and more importantly, the screenplay (or lack thereof).

HOME AGAIN is directed by Hallie Meyers-Shyer. The screenplay is written by Meyer-Shyer. But to be fair, this is the first movie she has directed and she is only 30 years of age. She truly has a long and successful career ahead of her. HOME AGAIN does have its moments.

The film is produced by Nancy Meyers (her mother) and Erika Olde. Nancy Meyers is Hollywood royalty and has had a long and successful career as a film director, producer, and screenwriter. She should be very proud of her daughter and for this first time effort.

HOME AGAIN:

  • Open with mother sobbing. Turning 40 years of age. Separated from her New York husband. Time to start over again.
  • Leaves New York City and moves back to Los Angeles together with her two young adorable young school-age children.
  • Be with friends at a bar to celebrate 40th birthday. Enter three brothers in their twenties -- wannabe filmmakers in search of that Hollywood dream. They happen to also be homeless at the moment and guess where they will end up staying temporarily?
  • You still with me? There is more. Discover that the family home belonged to her late Oscar-winning film director father. Her very much alive mother is a beloved ex-actress.

For a film critic who never gives away the plot of any film, I just did. Well, sort of -- because there is so much more including some romance and some mentoring. Eventually, the estranged husband comes home again, and then the fun begins. Did I mention that Alice (played by Reese Witherspoon) is sleeping with one of the brothers (played by adorable Pico Alexander) and having sex?

To be fair, there are some lovely touching moments in this film. There is a degree of sweetness to be found too. Occasionally you will hear the audience laugh because this is a romantic comedy. In the end, I am glad that I saw the film. With what is going on in the world today, I didn't want to go and see a scary movie (which by the way I will review next week). I just wish that HOME AGAIN would have been better. At only 96 minutes long, the film seemed to drag.

PREVIEW OF COMING ATTRACTIONS

With the arrival of September, Hollywood begins to release the best films of the year. Next week, we will preview the most anticipated movies that will open in Las Vegas this fall.

Imagine Oscar winner Emma Stone playing Billie Jean King. Also, imagine Steve Carell as Bobby Riggs. The film is "BATTLE OF THE SEXES" and it is one of the Top Ten Previews.

We will also examine the success of the new film IT -- which proves that IF a horror film is well-written and directed, it can be the week's blockbuster and box office hit.

See you at the movies.

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