Director Shawn Levy assembles an all-star cast to deliver a familiar feeling movie that is standard fare all around. Siblings coming back to their childhood home and rehashing old issues to get over new ones has been done again and again. Some of why audiences turn out is because of this relatability and some attraction is the cast. This is Where I Leave You doesn’t do anything new but sitting through the 103 minute run time isn’t too much of a challenge.
Judd Altman (Jason Bateman) loses his marriage and job when he finds his boss Wade (Dax Shepard) has been sleeping with his wife Quinn (Abigail Spencer) for a year. Things don’t seem like they can get any worse for Judd when he gets a call letting him know his father has died. Returning home Judd reunites with his business savvy brother Paul (Corey Stoll), sister who is stuck in a loveless marriage Wendy (Tina Fey), and the family screw up Phillip (Adam Driver). The siblings are told by their over the top mother Hillary (Jane Fonda) that their not very religious father’s last wish was that his family sit shiva, a seven day mourning period, for him.
Jason Bateman has been an audience favorite since the amazing Arrested Development aired. He has been growing in popularity ever since. Bateman is likable, charming, and a solid actor but he doesn’t step out of his wheelhouse too often. Leave You is no exception. Bateman plays Bateman. This isn’t a positive or negative to the movie, it’s just what it is. Corey Stoll has been an actor gaining in popularity in the last couple years. Leading man for FX’s interesting The Strain and the lead bad guy in Marvel’s Ant Man this summer Stoll has his hands full. He delivers in Leave You.
Tina Fey and Adam Driver are the actors who really stand out in this film. Tina Fey is known primarily as a comedy writer/actress. Mean Girls, SNL, 30 Rock, etc. In Leave You Fey is given the most emotional content out of any of the actors. She has the least jokes and while watching the movie you just sit back and buy all of it. I’ll admit it flat out. I never cared for Adam Driver. I first saw the actor as something of a scum bag in the overrated HBO show girls and was disappointed when he was cast in Star Wars Episode VII. If nothing else Leave You shows why Driver is in Hollywood. He plays the comic relief in a cast full of funny people. He plays his character, not as a comedian, but as the family screw up he is supposed to be. He is endearing, funny, charming, and tragic. Driver steals the movie and elevates it.
Rose Byrne, Kathryn Hahn, Connie Britton, Ben Schwartz, and Timothy Olyphant round out the rest of this phenomenal cast.
As previously stated This Is Where I Leave You is the kind of family drama we’ve all seen before. It’s mediocre in every way except cast. The big reveal at the end tries to do something new but it feels like a desperate grab to reach an issue that is big in the country, and the world, at the time the movie was made and this writing. It feels forced, unbelievable, and a little cheap.
Source via Sit Down, Shut Up. Currently Streaming on HBONOW