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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as Judd Altman
as Wendy Altman
as Hilary Altman
as Paul Altman
as Phillip Altman
as Annie Altman
as Penny Moore
as Quinn Altman
as Horry Callen
as Tracy Sullivan
as Linda Callen
as Rabbi Charles Grodne...
as Wade Beaufort
as Barry Weissman
as Younger Mort
as Woman #1
as Guard #1
as Frat Boy #1
as Woman #2
as Uncle Joe
as Dr. Rausch
as Mrs. Applebaum
as Little League Dad
as Young Judd
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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.
All too often, the desire of the audience dovetails with that of the characters: We really just want to get the hell out of this house.
One recurring gag features Fey's toddler ambling around with a plastic toilet, defecating in the most unseemly of locations. There isn't a better analogy for [the] film.
We get set piece after set piece, character moment after character moment, with few of them doing more than letting characters talk about themselves and tell each other things that we're not yet sure we believe.
Just because the characters are well-to-do with first world problems doesn't make them less sympathetic.
Audience Reviews for This Is Where I Leave You
Solid ensemble dramedy about a dysfunctional family who gathers to sit shiva for their deceased patriarch. Secrets come out, punches are thrown, but no love is lost (in both loving and hateful usages of the phrase). Lots of great characters, such as cheating wife Quinn who actually plays a sympathetic and vulnerable part, the gutsy, newly voluptuous matriarch played by dishy Jane Fonda, and the manboy next door whom eldest sister Wendy has to forgive herself for ditching years ago after their car accident left him brain-damaged.
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.
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