Film Review – This is Where I Leave You (2014)

This is Where - post

Title – This is Where I Leave You (2014)

Director – Shawn Levy (The Internship)

Cast – Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Adam Driver, Rose Byrne, Jane Fonda, Corey Stoll, Kathryn Hahn, Timothy Olyphant, Dax Shepard

Plot – When his father passes away, struggling radio show manager Judd (Bateman) must go home and face his estranged family, a family of mess ups, misfits and genuinely depressed people. Granting their fathers last wish of a week of reflection spent at home, will Judd and his family be able to survive each other amongst all the freshly revealed revelations?

 “It’s hard to see people from your past when your present is so cataclysmically screwed up”

Review by Eddie on 17/11/2015

Sometimes you just can’t quite begin to fathom why a movie was made, it’s not to say the movie is utterly horrible or irremediably bad, but it’s existence is one that can’t be nailed down, This is Where I Leave You is one of these such films. Why did such a generic and unoriginal film attract such a varied and talented cast? Why did the films writer Jonathan Tropper try so hard to fit in all the awkward family tropes of reunion movies past into one script? These are but a few of the countless such questions you could ask of this film and are questions in which I for one can’t answer.

The Internship director Shawn Levy has instilled his family dramedy with so many plot strands, so many awkward moments and so many underused actors that it’s clear Leave was struggling from the get-go with an identity crisis. In a crowded marketplace of estranged families banding together in adversity or death it does little to distinguish itself from the pack, at any moment you’re just expecting a Sigor Ros or Bon Iver song to play in the background amongst a varied amount of other such elements prone to pop up in such films. What makes Leave even more frustrating in this concern is that there are moments that work in the film, short bursts of genuine heart and humour that are quickly smothered out by another outlandish development that encircles our Altman family members.

Our central figure here is Jason Bateman’s Judd, a man who is facing the prospect of divorce and fatherhood and perhaps a reacquainted love with childhood sweetheart Penny, played by Australia’s new favourite Rose Byrne. Judd’s arc is so utterly predictable and by the numbers that any hope Leave had of breaking the mould is shattered and it doesn’t help also that Bateman continues to be one of the most frustrating and unoriginal actors of the current generation. Trying to enliven and invigorate proceedings here is a raft of supports that on paper should’ve been an automatic win but again don’t at all gel due to an awkward tone and plot. From Jane Fonda’s plastic surgery loving matriarch Hillary, Tina Fey’s troubled sister Wendy, Adam Driver in yet another film where he plays Adam Driver and even Justified’s Timothy Olyphant as brain damaged Horry, this is one family you’ll be glad to see disappear into the credits.

This is Where I Leave You has some moments, there are laughs and a few nice ponderings upon life, love and all in between yet it’s so unappealingly unoriginal that it’s very hard to recommend. When you can’t pinpoint a reason for a film coming to fruition, whether it be a comedy, drama or anything else in the long line of genres you know that the film missed the mark, This is Where I Leave You misses the mark and misses it badly, in its fruitless struggle to make us care.

2 baby monitors out of 5

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19 responses to “Film Review – This is Where I Leave You (2014)

  1. Good review. Bateman really has become a generic disappointment hasn’t he? He has never reached the levels he achieved in the early seasons of Arrested Development.

  2. I’m with you. Not a good movie. I normally enjoy Tina Fey but she was weirdly cast in this one. Overall it was just boring and the familiar story was a big disappointment.

  3. I agree with you on this. I know I’m in the minority but I really don’t think Tina Fey is good in movies. So far I haven’t liked any of her films except for Mean Girls. This was just a bunch of whiny annoying people complaining a lot.

  4. I actually really liked this. I found the family’s struggle to reconnect very compelling and I enjoyed the ensemble cast.

  5. Guys, A bit harsh! It is definitely derivative, but I thought that it was done pretty well. I don’t think it’s trying to be anything other than an enjoyable flick. I thought Tim O was great – a significant departure from his characters in Deadwood and Justified. Love your work!

    • Ha sorry Steve just didn’t enjoy this one as much as I was hoping to. Would’ve loved to see Tim O have more screen time and still waiting for the say he matches his TV gigs with a great movie role.
      E

  6. An absolutely understandable review. When I first saw this I wasn’t sure what to think. It wan’t terrible, like “Men, Women & Children” terrible, but there was something about it that seemed off, and I had to step back so as not to force myself into liking this film. I will say too, in defense of this film and Jonathan Tropper, the book is pretty complex, as books are. And this is where this film becomes one of those that works best as a book. Tropper wrote the book, and obviously the screenplay, so it’s understandable what he’s doing. I should also say that I read the book before I saw this, so I do believe I enjoyed the book far more than the film itself. While the film has some redeeming qualities, it’s not nearly as good as I hoped for.

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