Hallie Meyers-Shyer has the kind of pedigree any aspiring rom-com director would kill for – her father is the man behind Father Of The Bride while her mother is genuine rom-com royalty, the woman responsible for smash hits What Women Want, The Holiday and It’s Complicated. Her debut feature doesn’t stray too far from the formula her parents followed, a mindlessly pleasant comedy about a recently separated mother of two who agrees to suddenly let three twenty-something filmmakers live in her guesthouse and quickly integrate themselves into her family. The premise is ridiculous and the main character’s willingness to allow three random strangers to babysit her children within a day of meeting them is bizarre, but overall this comes close to achieving what it sets out to. Home Again is shiny, forgettable pap full of pretty people doing shiny, forgettable things.

Luckily it has the always watchable Reese Witherspoon in the lead role. The rest of the cast do their best with what their given, especially the frustratingly underutilized Michael Sheen and Lake Bell, but without Witherspoon the whole endeavour would be entirely painful to sit through. The three young men who become her housemates are by turns smug, irritating and self-righteous, and the film’s generally self-satisfied tone is hard to overcome. This isn’t insightful, funny or even particularly intelligent, but with Reese at the helm it’s never less than curiously entertaining, even with its awkward, hilariously convenient ending.

Her parents’ hits were never groundbreaking, but had a knowing charm that made them all worthwhile, something Meyers-Shyer can’t quite hit the target with here. Home Again does enough without ever being completely worthwhile though – breezy, occasionally illogical fluff with a single Reese Witherspoon-sized reason to stay. Still, after her brilliant career-best turn in the award winning series Big Little Lies you’d be forgiven for wishing Reese would tackle something with a little more substance.

home-again-poster

2 Stars

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