The War At Home Review

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You thought you'd seen your last ever psychological drama about a messed-up Vietnam veteran finding it hard to adjust to life back home? Think again; star-producer-director Emilio Estevez clearly reckons it's time for another one.

It's Texas, 1972 and Jeremy Collier (Estevez), who won a medal for killing a sniper, has been back with the folks for a full year, and though he's groomed in regulation tacky polyester, he's still tormented by flashbacks - complete with essential chop-chop sound of helicopter blades - of what happened to him in the war. The trouble lies, of course, with Jezzer's all-too-dysfunctional family.

Dad (Estevez's real-life pater Sheen) is a stuffed-shirt car dealer determined to be the boss at home at all costs, while Kathy Bates steals the movie as the most irritating mother in the world. Jeremy's college-kid sister (Kimberly Williams) misguidedly thinks she understands his plight and, just to add to his woes, his ex-girlfriend is now seeing another guy.

A bit like The Brady Bunch meets Ordinary People, this is a talky, perfectly watchable yet very obvious screen transfer of a stage play (James Duff's Homefront) that Martin Sheen apparently urged his son to adapt as a movie. All rather surprising, especially when you consider that Sheen was in the mother of all 'Nam trips, Apocalypse Now, and the main dramatic impetus of this offering centres on who ate the peanut brittle overnight.

All roads lead to a Thanksgiving dinner from hell and an inevitably hysterical, four-letter shouting, trigger-toting finale. Undeniably well acted, competently directed and reasonably involving (in a soapy TV-movie kind of way), this nevertheless has little business clogging up screen space down your local multiplex.