“This is Where I Leave You” is a typical throw a family together under funeral circumstances and hilarity will ensue film. This is an okay film, probably better for rental or streaming in a few months. I only paid matinee price and was amused. Jason Bateman’s Judd walks into his apartment with a birthday cake for his wife, only to find her in an inappropriate situation with his boss. Ooops. Now he’s getting divorced, needs a job, and gets a call from his sister (Tina Fey) that his father died. He arrives to sit shiva with his whole family. Mom (Jane Fonda), older brother Paul (Cory Stoller), sister, and baby brother (Adam Driver). Add in assorted wives, kids, neighbors, and former hometown loves (Rose Byrne, Timothy Olyphant).
But the point of the film is family. No matter what - you can battle, have some grudges, and your siblings will still love you. I was very happy that throughout the film, no bad secrets came out about the father. That’s often the twist for films these days. All in all, he was a glue for the family and they all missed him in their own way. Very nice.
The siblings did fall into stereotypes but thanks to decent acting rose above the material. Tina Fey as the only girl was the heart and boss of the group. The older brother was looked up to and yet “disliked” for being the “good one who set the example”. Judd as the middle brother was popular, cool, and Bateman does bemused snarky well. Despite outward appearances, Judd is an insecure mess – sure that he’s always never quite made it. Peter, the youngest, is the beloved screw-up. He gets away with shenanigans, but really wants to be like his older siblings.
“This is Where I Leave You” does have a lot of good moments and lines. It solves things a bit too easily with pregnancies and the whole “circle of life” cliché. And yet, that is life, and as we leave the film, we have to hope the characters have grown and will succeed in new paths, plus stay in touch.