You want to like it. You try to like it. Drew Barrymore is lovable and Luke Wilson is good-looking, but you really can’t find something, anything, that bumps Home Fries (Warner Bros.) into the category of likable films.
The previews highlight an adorable budding romance between Sally (Barrymore, Ever After) and Dorian (Wilson, Bottle Rocket). Yes, the film has an adorable budding romance, but unfortunately the movie neglects to focus on it.
Instead, the film centers on Dorian’s insane family. It’s difficult to describe the lunacy of the family. Dorian’s brother Angus (Jake Busey, Starship Troopers) suffers from an Oedipal complex. He is willing to kill the mistress of his dead stepfather in order to win the approval of his mother (Catherine O’Hara, Home Alone). Killing the mistress is no big deal for Angus – he and Dorian already scared their stepfather to death because Angus thinks that’s what his mother wanted.
Their mother is almost as screwed up as Angus (what kind of mother names her baby Angus?). She is not devastated by the death of her husband but is more distraught because he had a mistress. In the end, you have a twisted mother who produced a twisted a son and who together produce a twisted plot not worth unraveling.
Barrymore is in the movie too. She’s Henry’s pregnant mistress. Angus wants to kill her. Dorian wants to be the father of her baby, but he’s already the stepbrother. It’s all too complicated. You expect a simple romantic comedy with Barrymore’s contagious vivacity jumping from the screen. It doesn’t happen. Instead, you spend the entire film trying to figure out how a family could become so nuts.
A few typical Barrymore elements surface in the film, such as butterflies and daisies. She always wears her hair in a Shirley Temple-esque bob. And who could overlook the shiny red lip gloss that makes Barrymore look like she sucks a cherry ice pop in between takes? These small tidbits creep up on you and are fleeting. But you want more of this and ultimately expect it from a project involving Barrymore.
Barrymore and Wilson have an amazing chemistry, but then again, they should – they’re dating. But the film fails to explore the endless possibilities of their relationship.
With little focus on the romance, their love does not develop on-screen, which leaves you wondering why Dorian says “I love you” after the second date. You desire more of the romance and Barrymore idiosyncrasies and less of the family affairs.
You see a film starring Barrymore to catch her freshness and love of life. You go to her movie expecting a light-hearted, sweet romantic flick. But that’s not Home Fries. Still, you try to like it. But you just can’t.
Home Fries opens in theaters Nov. 25.