Home Again...and Again and Again: a Review of Reese Witherspoon's Latest Movie
There’s a question you will ask yourself immediately after you see Home Again, a deliciously fun film opening this Friday, Sept. 8: Who is that extremely adorable guy Reese Witherspoon has a fling with? And where did he come from?
Allow me to answer.
Watch: Reese Witherspoon and Her Daughter Ava Looked Like Twins at Home Again Premiere
That adorable guy is Pico Alexander. He is 26, tall, has deep brown eyes that could melt the Tic Tacs in your mouth, and dimples that should get their own end credits. I brought my teenage daughters to a screening of the movie, and they both audibly gasped when he came on screen—not kidding! I don’t know if you’ve seen him before (I hadn’t) but he was in War Machine (2017), A Most Violent Year (2014), and Indignation (2016) along with appearances in plays and on lots of TV shows like The Carrie Diaries, Orange is the New Black, and Blue Bloods.
He’s from Brooklyn, NY. He speaks Polish (his parents are Polish immigrants), and his dad is a cinematographer. His real first name is Alexander, but his dad nicknamed him Pico. Don’t bother looking him up on Instagram, because he’s not on social media. Coming up in his career, he has Summertime directed by Ed Burns. He's polite to paparazzi. And he will make you sigh when, as the budding young film director Harry in Home Again, he smoothly tells Witherspoon's character Alice, “I don’t know your ex, but he must be some kind of maniac to have let you slip through his fingers.” We will definitely be seeing more of him.
But Pico isn’t the only eye candy in this rom-com. Remember Nancy Meyers, who directed It’s Complicated, Something’s Gotta Give and The Holiday? Remember the incredible houses and gorgeous rooms in those films? Trust me, they were magazine-worthy. Some critics have even referred to Meyers's films as “decorator porn” due to the lush sets, art direction, and smattering of attractive people. Well, she’s a producer on this film, which was directed and written by her daughter, Hallie Meyers-Shyer, and it's clear to us that Nancy has taught her offspring well.
You will find yourself lusting after every damask pillow, gleaming coffee maker, perfect platter of pancakes, bowl of shiny apples, and vase overflowing with pink peonies. Even the groceries Alice unloads are perfect. Meyers-Shyer also has her mom’s knack for great soundtracks—the opening scene features “I’ve Seen All Good People” by Yes and the closing scene, Carole King’s nostalgic “Home Again.”
When we meet Alice, a recently separated mother of two, she has just moved from New York to L.A. to start a new life and get away from her partying ex Austen, a music manager (played by Michael Sheen). She’s also hoping to kickstart her career as an interior decorator (what else?)
She and her adorable precocious daughters move into a beautiful old Spanish style casa (picture fountains, bougainvillea, and tile), inherited from her late father, a famous '70s film director. It’s conveniently located close to her mom—former actress Lillian Stewart, played by Candice Bergen.
The action really starts when Alice goes out to celebrate her 40th birthday with some old friends. After a few cocktails, they meet up with a trio of 20-something guys—Harry (the aforementioned Alexander), his brother Teddy (played by Nat Wolff) and their friend George (Jon Rudnitsky). The three are eager filmmakers, new in town, and hoping to get their short movie made into a full feature.
After several shots, birthday cake, dancing (to LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem") and some more shots, they all end up back at Reese character Alice’s casa where Alice almost sleeps with Harry and everyone else crashes on the couch. The next morning, Alice's mom Lillian shows up earlier than expected with her daughters. There’s plenty of embarrassment, but Lillian becomes enamored with the three earnest young men and somehow convinces Alice to let them temporarily live in her guest house. “Since when is having three adorable guys hanging around such a bad thing?” she questions. She has a point.
Hilarity, tears, and laughter ensues along with an amazing fajita dinner, movie nights, breakfast scenes that would make Martha Stewart jealous and, well, incredible sex.
The guys get even more adorable as they become protective of Alice (especially when her ex shows up), and the scenes between Alice and Harry are sweet and sensuous at the same time. In the Meyers tradition of mom porn, he seduces her by fixing her kitchen cabinets while talking to her in a soothing voice. “Anything else I can do for you?” he intones inching closer. “Got anything from Ikea that I can assemble?” This guy knows his way around a hammer. Swoon.
There are also a few great side stories and performances, like Lake Bell as Zoe, a rich and entitled housewife who hires Alice to decorate her nursery but treats her like a servant; Reid Scott as Justin, a smarmy producer who wants to make the guys’ film, More American Sniper, and possibly add a “Channing dance sequence;” and filmmaker George, (the writer of the group) and the big brother relationship he strikes up with Alice’s oldest daughter Isabel, to help her overcome her stage fright.
All in all, this is a fun, escapist romance that lets you live vicariously in a fantasy world of lush living rooms and Bon Appetit meals while it pokes fun at the L.A. scene (yoga, everyone has a script, Nobu leftovers) and dispenses some life advice along the way. I can already tell that it’s going to be one of those movies that I watch over and over again once it’s available on TV.