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This Is Where I Leave You Review

This Is Where I Leave YouDirector: Shawn Levy.

Cast: Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Jane Fonda, Adam Driver, Rose Byrne, Corey Stoll, Kathryn Hahn, Connie Britton, Timothy Olyphant, Dax Shepard, Debra Monk, Abigail Spencer.

Certificate: 15

Running Time: 103 minutes.

Synopsis: A dysfunctional family reunites at the funeral of their father.

Reconnecting with families is one of Hollywood’s go-to plots for easily relatable cinema. A group of dysfunctional siblings and their embarrassingly liberal mother all get together to wish the father of the family a warm goodbye. What’s not to love? After all, as Hollywood would have us believe, we’re all embarrassed by our families but love them too.

Jason Bateman plays Judd Altman, a man who has just discovered his wife has been cheating on him with his boss, soon after his father dies, which leads to the funeral where he tries to avoid the issue of his recent divorce. Meanwhile his sister (Fey) is dealing with her potty training son and workaholic husband, as younger brother (Driver) brings home an older woman (Britton) who just happens to be his ex-therapist, and older brother (Stoll) is having difficulty impregnating his wife (Hahn).

This is just the tip of the iceberg, and doesn’t include Fonda as the mother who became famous writing about her dysfunctional family and sharing all their secrets, and there’s no room to go into detail concerning Olyphant as the brain damaged high school sweetheart of Fey’s character. It’s a lot to take in, and more twists reveal themselves along the way, which is THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU’s biggest problem. It comes across as a year’s worth of soap-opera drama squeezed into under two hours. The film has to hop about so frantically, that we forget Bateman is supposed to be the focus, and some of the cast are just wasted.

Where it may become disheveled around the plot, at least it has the decency to be pretty amusing. The interactions between family members, and especially Driver’s childish and obnoxious turn, allow for quippy dialogue and cringe worthy situations. You can tell the film was based on a novel, as there is a lot of fat that could have been trimmed, which could have allowed jokes to breathe for longer.

Enjoyable and constant in its forward momentum, there’s just too many emotional turns to care too much about what is going on. Just as we’re settling down into a heartbreaking or bittersweet moment, another family member has a crisis, thus quickly erasing all that has been built up. The performances keep things interesting, with the likes of Fonda and Bateman really sinking themselves into the roles. Pleasant but predictable, this is white middle-class comedy, firmly settled into its melodramatics.

[usr=3]THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU is released on 24th October.

Luke likes many things, films and penguins being among them. He's loved films since the age of 9, when STARGATE and BATMAN FOREVER changed the landscape of modern cinema as we know it. His love of film extends to all aspects of his life, with trips abroad being planned around film locations and only buying products featured in Will Smith movies. His favourite films include SEVEN SAMURAI, PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC, IN BRUGES, LONE STAR, GODZILLA, and a thousand others.

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