26th Oct2014

This is Where I Leave You – Film

by timbaros

images-274A dysfunctional family with a sexy matriarch is the premise of the new dramatic comedy This is Where I Leave You.

Jane Fonda stars as the outspoken Hillary Altman. Her husband has just passed away so all of her children come to the family home for the funeral, to live under the same roof, for seven days. The Altman children include Judd (Jason Bateman), a 40-something radio producer who catches his wife in bed with his star DJ Wade Beaufort (Dax Shepard); Tina Fey plays Wendy – she’s the sensible one, very close to Judd, with two children and a husband always on the phone making deals; Adam Driver is Phillip – he’s in his mid 30’s going on 25 but who is dating a woman almost double his age (played confidently by Connie Britton); and then there’s the oldest and responsible brother Paul (Corey Stoll), who works in the company business with their now deceased father but is having a hard time trying to have a baby with his wife him Annie (Kathryn Hahn).

In a film that has cute moments together with some awful moments, This is Where I Leave You is basically a film about a family that is just as dysfunctional and loopy as we’ve seen before on the screen. Awkward moments abound, especially as the father’s dying wish was to have all his children come home and spend seven days Sitting Shiva (a seven-day period of mourning in the Jewish religion). Hillary goes on to tell her children “For the next seven days you are all my children again. And you are all grounded.” The Altman family basically don’t know what to say to each other and the silence is louder than words. Other Awkward moments include Hillary’s breasts. They loom large when she’s making a bed for Judd and tell’s him “these are the same breasts you sucked on as a child,” and he tells her “Oh no they’re not.”

With the four adult children back in their hometown, past romantic liaisons come alive again. Rose Byrne plays Penny Moore, a hometown girl who’s always carried a torch for Judd, too bad for her that he unknowingly has sex with her daughter. And Paul’s wife Annie has always carried a torch for Judd and even asks him to impregnate her as it appears her husband Paul’s sperm is not doing the trick. And Wendy has to come face to face with a high school sweetheart (Timothy Olyphant) who was in a tragic accident and was incapable of being the man she wanted him to be so she moved on with her life.

This is Where I Leave You is recommended for it’s smart cast (they all do very well in light of a very weak script with some unfunny jokes) and direction that could’ve been tighter and more focused. And it could’ve finished with a different ending as I didn’t believe the ¬†relationship Wendy is now in. Having said that, it’s a fun film that you will more than likely forget a couple hours after leaving the cinema.