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Home Again (2017)
Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 12/12/2017
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 12/14/2017
Nancy Meyers, along with her former husband Charles Shyer, created a very specific sub-genre of film. Through movies like It's Complicated, Something's Gotta Give, The Holiday, and The Parent Trap, Meyers has seemingly mastered the art of creating worlds in which rich white people deal with mildly irritating problems. The movies often plays as a mixture of comedy, drama, and romance, but the real focus is typically on characters who don't have a care in the world working through decidedly first-world problems. It would be an understatement to say that these movies are out-of-touch with the lives of everyday Americans. Now, her daughter, Hallie Meyers-Shyer, has joined the family business with Home Again.
Reese Witherspoon stars in Home Again as Alice, a newly-separated woman who has moved back into her childhood home in Los Angeles, along with her daughters, Isabel (Lola Flanery) and Rosie (Eden Grace Redfield). Alice, who's father was a famous filmmaker, wants to pursue a career as an interior designer. While out on a "girl's night", Alice meets Harry (Pico Alexander), George (Jon Rudnitsky), and Teddy (Nat Wolff), three young men who have come to Hollywood to promote their short film. Unfortunately, they've run out of money and have no place to stay. So, Alice invites them to stay with her, in no small part because she's attracted to Harry. The guys soon find themselves feeling at home at Alice's, as they grow close to Alice and the girls. Can this living situation continue to work?
There is nothing wrong with a filmmaker mining their own lives in order to get materials for their movies. Very, very successful writers and directors have been doing this for decades and it can often lead to moving, personal films. But, and this is key, these people must have something to say in their movies. Again, the main character in Home Again grew up in the lap of luxury in California, living in the home built with the money made by her father, who was a successful director. You don't have to be Sherlock Holmes to deduce that Hallie Meyers-Shyer is drawing on her own life here. And, a story of what it's like to be the child of two successful filmmakers and have aspirations to make your own movies could be very intriguing. Do you learn from them on the set? Do you go to film school? Do you try to tough it out on your own or do you rely on nepotism?
Well, we don't get anything like that with Home Again. What we get is a bizarre white woman fantasy movie where Alice can leave behind an unsatisfying marriage (but still be friends with her ex), live in a nice house, apparently rent-free (which also has a guest house), hook up with a hot guy nearly half her age, and have two kids who are handling the separation and the move incredibly well. (Why doesn't Alice's mother (Candice Bergen) live in the house.) Should we file this under science fiction? Nancy Meyers often made films which could have easily been labeled as escapist, and were certainly elitist. Her characters existed in a world where everyone was white, happy, and rich. Well, they were until some white-people problems showed up to spoil the tranquility.
But, at least those movies featured (semi) fleshed-out characters and some conflict. By comparison, Home Again is truly a nothing movie. The title implies that Alice will have difficulty moving back home...but, no, that all seems to be fine. Save for some very, very mild arguments, everyone in the movie gets along fine. In the end, everyone gets what they want. I often complain about movies and TV shows which pile struggle-after-struggle onto the characters in order to create never-ending drama, but this movie goes in the opposite direction and makes life look relatively pain free, as it portrays a world where someone can simply open their own business simply because they have a website and the ability to glue things to poster-board. The movie is never funny, never moving, and it's attempts to portray the difficulties faced by those attempting to break into show-business offer only the most stereotypical of ideas. I certainly understand that some people like lighter fare, I definitely need it from time-to-time, but Home Again is so devoid of anything resembling a dramatic narrative, that it's almost akin to watching someone else's home movies.
Home Again made me feel really bad about my life courtesy of Universal Studios Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 1.85:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 35 Mbps. The image is very sharp and clear, showing no obvious grain and no defects from the source materials. The colors look fantastic, as the film is filled with colorful tones and they almost leap off of the screen. The image is never overly dark or bright. The level of detail is very good, and the picture is never soft. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs 48 kHz and an average of 3.6 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. Being a romantic-comedy or whatever this movie was supposed to be, we don't get many demo-level audio effects here. There are some noticeable stereo effects which alert us to sounds coming from off-screen, and some crowd scenes produce obvious surround sound effects. The nightclub sequence provides some nice subwoofer effects as a song which was hot in 2011 plays.
The lone extra on the Home Again Blu-ray Disc is an AUDIO COMMENTARY from Director/Writer Hallie Meyers-Shyer and Producer Nancy Myers.
Review Copyright 2017 by Mike Long