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Homecoming (2009)

Homecoming reviewReviewed by The Foywonder

Starring Mischa Barton, Jessica Stroup, Matt Long, Michael Landers, Denise Dal Vara

Directed by Morgan J. Freeman


In Misery, an author in a car accident is taken in and nursed by a woman who at first seems helpful but then won’t let him leave or communicate with the outside world. The woman turns out to be an obsessed fan furious at him for having killed off her favorite literary heroine. She keeps the author hostage and forces him to write a new book resurrecting her favorite character. Much of the suffering the psycho inflicts upon the author involves broken legs. A cop eventually arrives at the secluded countryside home and is promptly killed by the crazy lady. The author finally fights back, ironically using a typewriter as a weapon.

In Homecoming, a coed involved in a hit & run is taken in and nursed by her college football star boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend who at first seems helpful but then won’t let her leave or communicate with the outside world. The ex turns out to be an obsessed lunatic furious at her for having stolen away her one true love. The ex holds the girl hostage while tricking the slow-witted boyfriend into thinking his new girlfriend has ditched him leaving the door open for the ex to try and rekindle their romance. Much of the suffering the psycho inflicts upon her romantic rival involves a broken ankle. A cop eventually arrives at the secluded countryside home and is promptly killed by the crazy lady. The coed finally fights back, ironically using a football helmet as a weapon.

Homecoming is a remake of Misery geared towards CW Network viewers directed with all the lifeless aplomb of a Lifetime Network thriller about teenage dating violence. Misery led to a battle of wits between to the two protagonists; everyone and everything about Homecoming is hopelessly witless.

Shelby (Mischa Barton of “The OC”) and Mike (generic “Jack & Bobby” hunk Matt Long, so uncharismatic you’ll be wondering why women are fighting over him) used to be the quintessential high school couple – he the star quarterback and she the hottest cheerleader. Mike went away to college on a football scholarship. Shelby had to stay behind when her mom became terminally ill and required her round-the-clock care. Mike broke things off with Shelby, though you would never know it hearing her talk. When local celebrity Mike returns to receive an award from his old high school he brings with him his new sweetheart Elizabeth (Jessica Stroup of “90210” and the Prom Night remake stretching her acting muscles by frequently crying while hobbling on one leg). Shelby puts on a brave face, but the moment we see her take that first drag on her cigarette we know she is not a happy woman.

Mischa Barton is no Kathy Bates; that’s for damn sure. You would think Barton could play a more believably intense lunatic considering she herself reportedly spent some time recently in the nuthouse. Between this stinker, her real-life reported personal problems, and her new CW Network series “The Beautiful Life” getting cancelled after only 2 episodes, Barton looks to be in an even greater downward spiral than the character she blandly portrays here.

A highly contrived series of events kicks into gear, beginning with Elizabeth getting locked out by the world’s worst small town motel clerk and ending with Barton dropping her cigarette in her crotch while driving and hitting Elizabeth with her truck. This could have opened the door to some potential dramatics. I mean a girl still hung up on her ex-boyfriend just happens to hit her ex’s new girlfriend with her car. You can only imagine how things could spiral from there in a small close-knit community. It’s a plot worthy of a “Law and Order” episode or the new spin-off “CSI: Podunk”. Instead the whole plodding affair turns into a miserable Misery knock-off.

The similarities to Misery are so striking you would think the filmmakers could have had a sense of humor about it but then that would have required Homecoming to have a sense of humor. Director Morgan J. Freeman (Not the actor!) and his screenwriters are no strangers to thrillers about deranged college age girls having all been previously responsible for the misguided American Psycho 2 that saw a woefully miscast Mila Kunis play a brilliant serial killer. This time out they are so determined to make a serious thriller out of this suspense-deficient tweener schlock, refusing to let anyone or anything get played even a smidgen over the top regardless of how cornball the moment might be, they succeed only in sucking all the fun out of it, failing to achieve even a modicum of the camp value.

Rent Obsessed instead. That one you can at least laugh at.

1 out of 5

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