Tuesday, September 23, 2014

This is Where I Leave You - Movie Review

This is Where I Leave You is a film based on a novel written by Jonathan Tropper and was directed by Shawn Levy. The movie stars Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Jane Fonda, Adam Driver, Rose Byrne, Corey Stoll, Kathryn Hahn, Connie Britton, Timothy Olyphant, Dax Shepard, and Abigail Spencer.

A few days after Judd Altman (Bateman) finds his wife (Spencer) in bed with his boss (Shepard), his sister Wendy (Fey) calls to tell him their father has passed away. To make matters worse, he is forced by his mother Hillary (Fonda) to spend seven days together with her, Wendy, and their two brothers Phillip (Driver) and Paul (Stoll), none of whom have ever been able to get along very well. Forced to deal with each other and all of their issues over the course of the week, the family must find a way to coexist before the entire household is torn apart.

Last year there was a very highly regarded movie called August: Osage County which was based on a highly regarded stage play about an extremely dysfunctional family brought together by the loss of its patriarch. Sound familiar? Warner Brothers doesn't even try to hide the fact that they are looking to draw in the exact same audience that made Osage County such a big hit. The only problem is that the story told in This is Where I Leave You isn't nearly as good and the caliber of acting on display doesn't even come close. All that being said, this was still a fairly entertaining movie that works in more ways than it fails. It's definitely more comedy than drama although there are a couple moments that might cause a few folks to bust out the tissue.

Over the last couple years, I've become a big fan of Jason Bateman (See: Bad Words) and he does nothing here to change that. He is clearly the star of the movie and his performance gives a steady presence that balances out the craziness of the rest of the cast. Tina Fey has never done much for me although this is easily the best and most well rounded character I have seen her play as she shows off she can tackle heavier material in addition to the comedic roles she is known for. The rest of the cast is honestly pretty bland with the exception of Adam Driver who is pretty entertaining as Phillip, the youngest and most immature of the siblings.

This is Where I Leave You isn't anything you haven't seen before and, as discussed before, there is at least one movie that does a better job of telling what is basically the same story. That being said, I would still have to say this is a movie worth seeing and, even though the individual cast members didn't give me much reason to get excited, they all worked pretty well as an ensemble. This is not something you have to see in the theaters, but definitely check it out at some point.


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