This Is Where I Leave You
Director: Shawn Levy
Writer: Jonathan Tropper
Based on: Jonathan Tropper‘s novel
Cast: Jason Bateman, Adam Driver, Corey Stoll, Tina Fey, Rose Byrne, Kathryn Hahn, Jane Fonda, Connie Britton, Timothy Olyphant, Dax Shepard, Debra Monk, Abigail Spencer, Ben Schwartz
Judd (Jason Bateman) is not in a good place in a moment. He just found out that his wife Quinn (Abigail Spencer) cheated on him with his boss Wade (Dax Shepard) and then he gets the message that his father died. So Judd returns home for the funeral where he sees his siblings Phillip, Paul and Wendy (Adam Driver, Corey Stoll, Tina Fey), and his mother Hillary (Jane Fonda) as well, of course. They don’t spend much time together and that’s for a reason. So when Hillary reveals that it was his father’s dying wish that they sit shiva together, more than just a little tension boils to the surface.
This Is Where I Leave You was mostly enjoyable but a little uneven all around. Some things were great about it, other things annoyed me a whole lot.
There are moments where the film gets everything right. Wendy’s story and her relationship with Horry (Timothy Olyphant) was perfectly done. It hits all the right notes and is extremely sad and at the same time, any other resolution would have been extremely problematic. [I felt tempted to start writing Wendy/Horry fanfic AUs where everything goes right for them. Because *sobs*.] I also loved everything about Connie Britton’s role, but then I usually love everything about her, so I might have been biased. And the way things end between Judd and Penny (Rose Byrne) was spot-on as well.
Other things weren’t so great. There were the endless jokes about Jane Fonda’s boobs that got really tiring. There was also the fact that the film focused too much on Phillip who I just found insufferable. There was also the scene where all the brothers bond over smoking weed and finally letting things out and I found it extremely jarring that Wendy wasn’t included in this (especially because it reinforced the “serious women/childish men” dichotomy this film suffers from a bit). There was also the fact that the rabbi was constantly bullied by the entire family calling him “Boner” and it was only played for laughs. Finally there was the fact that apparently nobody in the entire cinematic universe had ever heard of the term bisexuality.
But altogether I really enjoyed the film despite its missteps. The cast is wonderful – it’s good to see Jason Bateman in something that isn’t (entirely) a stoner comedy. Tina Fey kicks ass in this, especially when she gets to show her more dramatic side. Kathryn Hahn should get her own franchise anyway. Even Dax Shepard, when his character is finally revealed for what he really is (another point in the movie’s favor, by the way), was surprisingly good.
The film looks nice, all held in warm colors. The soundtrack is good and the pacing is fine – apart from the occasional moments where I just had to shake my head at the film, it was a nice evening.