They’re right, you can’t go home again

They’re right, you can’t go home again

It must be in the genes because Hallie Meyers-Shyer, the director of “Home Again,” is also the daughter of Nancy Meyers, otherwise known as the queen of romantic comedies — albeit upper middle class and beyond. Everything about a NM rom-com is pretty — pretty people leading pretty privileged lives in pretty homes — and now her daughter offers the same heaping helping of unreality.

The interchangeable lead is now Reese Witherspoon playing Alice Kinney, who’s recently separated and relocated back to the West Coast where her father, now deceased, once reigned as a top director. She inherited his stunning LA home in the hills with a vintage Porsche and a lovely guest house that will come in handy in the third scene. She has the requisite two precocious kids and a mouthy mother played to perfection by Candice Bergen.

While bar crawling on her 40th birthday she meets three cute guys — Harry (Pico Alexander), Teddy (Nat Wolff) and George (John Rudnitsky) — who have recently transplanted to La La Land to get their critically acclaimed short made into a feature length movie. What kismet! They need a place to stay and Alice has that yummy guesthouse.

The romantic part of the comedy comes in the form of the smoldering hot Alexander, who falls hard for Alice. In the meantime, the music producer/party boy husband, Austen (Michael Sheen), Alice left behind in New York has decided he would like to try to rekindle the marriage. Awkward for sure, but not in a Meyers, um, Meyers-Shyer rom-com. If you have ever seen one of these, you know there is a happy ending for almost everyone, including George, who also has a serious crush on Alice as well.

There are some neat tie-ins like using photos of a much younger Candice Bergen in the opening sequence to explain how her former actress character was the muse for Alice’s dad. It made me think that 40 years ago she might have played the part of Alice herself. Otherwise, it’s slick, play-by-play straight out of the romantic comedy guide for dummies.

But the fact is this chick flick is far beneath the talents of Witherspoon, who won an Academy Award for her portrayal of June Carter Cash in “Walk the Line” and almost won another for playing marathon hiker Cheryl Stayed in “Wild.” The occasional fluff piece, and this movie is like a XXL piece of saccharine sweet pink bubble gum, is no biggie. But I hope this doesn’t signal more “Clueless.”

I don’t know if the timing of the release of this movie is a welcomed escape from the disasters of Harvey and Irma — definitely not a romantic couple — or just a really dumb move to go ahead and release this movie. The truth probably is the release date was set ages ago and would be difficult to move. Either way, going “Home Again” was probably better for Alice than it was for me.

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