It's been five long years since onetime romantic comedy darling Reese Witherspoon charmed audiences the way she did with flicks like Sweet Home Alabama, Legally Blonde and Four Christmases. The actress has been busy working behind the scenes, heading up her production company (which was responsible for Wild and Gone Girl, among others) and taking on decidedly darker roles.
But this fall sees her back in a role that will feel comfortingly familiar to all of her OG fans. Witherspoon fronts Home Again, which hit theaters on Friday, which is perhaps one of the rom-commiest of all rom-coms. It's all in the movie's pedigree--it's produced by the Romantic Comedy Queen Nancy Meyers, the director who brought audiences Father of the Bride, The Holiday and It's Complicated, to name just a few.
And bringing the movie's behind-the-scenes engineers full circle is Meyers' own daughter, Hallie Meyers-Sheyer, who wrote and directed Home Again. Meyer-Sheyer told E! News that it was growing up on the set of her mother's films that made her want to create an iconic rom-com of her own.
"People would be quoting a movie and I would think to myself, my mom wrote that line," she said. "And that's so cool. It's something I always wanted for myself."
When Meyers-Sheyer sat down to write the script, she did so with Reese Witherspoon in mind. After it was complete and she had convinced the elder Meyers to jump on board to produce, she worked up the courage to send it over to Witherspoon (who, it should be added, accepted nearly immediately).
Watching the final product, it's clear to see that there's really no one else who could have take on the lead role quite like her. Home Again follows Witherspoon's Alice, who has just relocated to Los Angeles with her two children after separating from her husband and deciding to start over in her career (and pretty much every aspect of her life). A birthday dinner with friends turns a little bit wilder than expected when she finds herself partying the night away with three 20-something aspiring filmmakers who are also new to the city.
The next morning, after they all wake up at Alice's house, it's revealed that the young men are in dire need of a place to stay--one thing leads to another and they find themselves moving in to her guest house. The movie deals involves the expected generational hijinks, a budding romance between Alice and the most attractive of the three friends, and a last-ditch effort by her husband to win back his family.
It's a story that could easily turn formulaic, but features like a reverse age-gap in the relationship between Alice and Harry, the hot 25-year-old and some good old-fashioned comedic timing keep it fresh. And, of course, there's the feel-good universe that we've come to expect from Nancy Meyers; her daughter has kept up the family tradition of treating audiences to light, spunky music, lovable characters and house porn to outlive all other house porn.
Reese herself holds up her end of the bargain, and it's easy to see that she's having a blast back in the rom-com saddle. She told E! News that she accepted the role not because she was looking to return to romantic movies, but because she found Meyers-Sheyer's script so compelling and was chomping at the bit to work with the mother-daughter duo.
"Nancy Meyers has been so incredible to me, I've known her for many years," she said. "To get the opportunity to work with her, one of the most important female filmmakers of all time, it's just incredible. To watch her work and watch her mentor her daughter and me through this process, it's just encouraging.
And the house porn didn't hurt, either. In Reese's own words, "It's incredible to live inside a Nancy Meyers movie."