When I first heard of This I Where I Leave You, it ticked all the boxes.
1. It stars Tina Fey and Adam Driver, amongst others, who are two people that can do no wrong in my mind (I’m obviously not biased at all). **
2. It is a dysfunctional family drama, which has equalled awesomeness in the past (Little Miss Sunshine is a personal fave).
3. I came across yet another excellent podcast by Elvis Mitchell for KCRW’s The Treatment, where he chatted to the director Shawn Levy and it amped me up more.
There was also the fact that it was selected to screen at Toronto, which doesn’t necessarily mean anything, but hey, Levy’s other films like Date Night weren’t, so it potentially said something about what kind of movie I was going to see.
Then I saw the trailer, which was pretty sigh-worthy. It looked a lot like The Family Stone and seemed determined not to really explain what the movie was about.
So I went into this flick, thinking it could go either way.
Unfortunately, however, it went with the former and was quite underwhelming.
It had its moments, but actually, what This Is Where I Leave You felt like, was more of a series of nice moments strung together.
It focuses on Jason Bateman’s Judd Altman, whose life has taken a big dump on any plans he might have had. After walking in on his boss sleeping with his wife, he finds out his father has died, and heads back to his family home, where he, his sister (Fey), mother (Jane Fonda) and two brothers (Driver and House of Cards’ Corey Stoll) must ‘sit shiva’ for a week.
Apparently it was his father’s dying wish for them to take part in the Jewish week-long mourning ritual, that in this case, traps five family members who rarely see each other in the same house for seven days, along with and their significant others and children.
Of course, past issues and current issues, old flames, and all the drama that you expect bubbles to the surface, but more with a melancholy sigh, than with gusto. The only character I really felt anything for was Tina Fey’s Wendy, who has a heartbreaking storyline about an old boyfriend.
This Is Where I Leave You is sweet and sentimental, but not much more.
And with a cast of this calibre, I want to be leaving the cinema punching the air and planning my next trip to see it. Not walking out with a shrug.
** Just need a moment to rave about Adam Driver, who you probably recognise from the TV series GIRLS. The guy is a superb actor. He’s just so raw and unpredictable. If you haven’t seen him in Aussie film Tracks, stop reading this now and go watch it. BRILLIANT film.
And on a final note…. Just cause I can