This Is Where I Leave You (2014)
Critic Consensus: This Is Where I Leave You has its moments, but given the amount of talent assembled onscreen, the rather pedestrian results can't help but feel like a letdown.
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Critic Reviews for This Is Where I Leave You
In the best dramedies, of course, laughter and tears alternate seamlessly and gracefully, and you leave both entertained and enlightened. Alas, this isn't that film.
When I finally left This Is Where I Leave You, I was so saddened by all the squandered talent that I couldn't help but do the Charlie Brown shuffle gag from Arrested Development.
Pretends to put the fun in dysfunctional-family dramedy when it's not dispensing little bromides in hard-to-swallow bulls**t pablum form. It's all the most sanitized, safe, shticky way to show kidults' lives getting complicated. Sickeningly self-involved.
Audience Reviews for This Is Where I Leave You
Well meaning but ultimately vacuous, though saved somewhat by a competent cast that delivers whenever verbal sparring needs materialize.
Based on the book by Jonathan Tropper (who also wrote the screenplay), this film concerns a family's reactionary response to the death of their patriarch. The four kids and their families move back in with their mother to sit Shiva, grieve, get back their roots, and come to grips with the way their lives panned out. The greatest asset this film has lies in its great choice of casting. Fey, Bateman, Driver, and Stoll bounce off of each other like Super Balls, bantering well in every scene, and actually seeming like a real family. Everyone fights, everyone loves, and everyone has their own opinion, making for a mostly sweet natured and silly ride. What I believe remains the main problem of the film is that it's based off a sprawling novel, which ties together about twenty different storylines in only an hour and a half, while the book was some 339 pages. The film follows dozens of storylines without following many of them for more than a minute at a time. This under develops the story, the characters, and the dramedy of the film. This lends to what critics have said about this film being cliché ridden. Because the characters aren't fully developed, and not enough backstory is given, they have to be simplified down to the most basic terms, and that drains the sentimentality right out of the film. Otherwise entertaining, "This is Where I Leave You" remains classically sweet through its paper thin characters.
Here is a dramedy that is equally effective as a comedy and as a drama. It has the delicate balance and never goes too far into either direction. Bateman plays basically the same character as he does in every movie, and that is fine. Wouldn't want to see him play anything else. Here, he walks in on his wife sleeping with his boss, then finds out his father died. His dad's dying wish was for the family to sit shiva as they were all estranged. Hijinks ensue, and the family is crazy and try to piece back together their messed up lives. The whole cast is good, especially Adam Driver. The guy is a star, and has some of the funniest scenes I've seen all year. The only cast member I felt was under utilized was Tina Fey. She doesn't have a lot to work with here, but does the best with what she has. This movie reminded me a lot of another dramady called "Catch and Release". It's funny, sad, and has a great soundtrack. Don't leave this one behind, because it's very much worth checking out.
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