This Is Where I Leave You: Rated “R” (1 hour, 43 minutes)
Starring: Tina Fey, Jason Bateman, Adam Driver, Rose Byrne, Timothy Olyphant
Directed by: Shawn Levy
We all have family, some of ours are more dysfunctional than others, and while you think that your’s might take the cake, you haven’t met the Altman family which totally doesn’t get along, and haven’t for years. However when their patriarch passes away, the whole clan is not only called together to morn his passing, but is further expected to fulfill his final wish and sit Shiva for him for an entire week. Complicating all of this are not only the past individual 9and intermingled) histories of the Altman clan, but the now recently separated and newly jobless Judd Altman (Bateman) — his wife has been sleeping with his boss for the past year — has to travel home to fess up to his family about what is going on in his life.
This includes his psychiatrist mom (Fonda), who has written extensively about the family’s history, and is now sporting a new, much larger, rack, his very sarcastic older brother, Cory (Corey Stoll) who is unhappy about running the family business, is now married to Judd’s old girlfriend, Annie (Kathryn Hahn) and can’t seem to get her pregnant, his unhappy sister, Wendy (Fey) who has kids and a mostly-absent, workaholic husband, and his perennially screw-up younger brother, Phillip (Driver). Hopefully family bonds will prove strong enough for them to come together, mend past fences and prevent them from killing one another.
Everyone in this film has issues, not just the Altman family, including not only Horry Callen, Wendy’s old boyfriend (Timothy Olyphant) who has been a bit “off” since a car accident some 20 years earlier, but Penny (Byrne) who has had the hots for Judd since they were kids. So, yeah, there is quite a bit going on in this film, with most of it circling around Judd. Still, it is warm, engaging, entertaining, and well, makes you come out of the film feeling that perhaps your own life isn’t so screwed up as perhaps you thought it was when you went in. It also highlights an old quote we once heard about life itself. “Life is the process of attempting to fix the mistakes you made 10 years earlier.”
Robert J. Sodaro has been reviewing films for some 30 years. During that time, his movie reviews and articles have appeared in numerous print publications, as well as on the web. Subscribe to receive regular articles and movie reviews.