This Is Where I Leave You(2014)
- RatedM18 /GenreComedy
This Is Where I Leave You
With a cast that includes Jane Fonda, Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Ben Schwartz, Adam Driver, Kathryn Hahn, Rose Byrne, Dax Shepard, and more, you simply can’t avoid keeling over in laughter at least a couple of times during ‘This Is Where I Leave You’.
But while the sheer wattage of star power is indeed impressive, the film itself struggles to rise up to heights of the comic talent assembled.
Directed by Shawn Levy (‘Night at the Museum’) and written by Jonathan Tropper (who adapted the script from his own novel), this raunchy comedy is potty-mouthed and uproariously funny, only to be occasionally let down by the laziness of its tropes and resolutions.
‘This Is Where I Leave You’ begins with everyman New York radio producer Judd Altman (Bateman) going home to find his wife Quinn (Abigail Spencer) in bed with his obnoxious disc-jockey boss (Shepard).
Things only go downhill from there for poor Judd when he subsequently learns of his father’s passing. The funeral soon reunites Judd with his siblings Wendy (Fey), Phillip (Driver), and Paul (Corey Stoll) under one roof for seven days.
There, they learn of their dad’s final wish – for the family to sit shiva (a Jewish ritual of mourning) at home. Its an odd request considering the family’s casual observance of religion, but it is an obligation that everyone cannot avoid.
“You’re all grounded,” exclaims the family’s celebrity matriarch Hillary (Fonda). The hilariously inappropriate mother generates the film’s biggest laughs, and it is a role that Fonda gleefully chews up like a gourmet meal.
As a practising child psychologist, Hillary’s claim to fame came 25 years earlier when she published a book entitled ‘Cradle And All’ that detailed, to a wildly embarrassing degree, every secret her children ever had.
The book became a bestseller, but her family’s dismay still hasn’t stopped her from oversharing. She uses their confinement together to continue prodding her grown-up children while constantly relating stories about their late-father’s sexual prowess or showing off her newly enhanced breasts.
Naturally, Hillary’s progeny are plagued with a myriad of issues, and their individual problems eventually find a way of resurfacing during their period of mourning. All their emotional issues tend to intertwine – leading to couple of hysterical comedic set-pieces that might bust a gut.
And while the farcical situations and innumerable sexual jokes may be incredibly funny, the dramatic elements resolve themselves far too easily, making it difficult to care about these characters on a deeper level.
Nevertheless, ‘This Is Where I Leave You’ is still highly entertaining and will appeal to anyone who has had to endure the awkwardness of a protracted family gathering, which is to say, almost all of us.
‘This Is Where I Leave You’ opens 18 September 2014