Film: This Is Where I Leave You
Director: Shawn Levy
Cast: Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Jane Fonda, Timothy Oliphant, Adam Driver, Rose Bryne
What’s it about: A dysfunctional family has to reconcile their differences and stay under the same roof for seven days to respect their dead patriarch’s wishes.
What’s hot: This would have to be one of Shawn Levy’s more tolerable films, of late. The cast features a mix of several big indie and mainstream names. So, maybe that could have something to do with it. But what truly strikes you about this dramedy, is that it has drawn restrained performances from the more vocal actors and that it gets the quieter ones to speak up. Case in point, the brilliant Tina Fey. I think she’s the lynchpin of the film. Then there’s Jane Fonda, who’s always a delight to watch. The story itself is straightforward, the interpersonal relationships not so much.
What’s not: While Levy does decent adaptation of beloved books with an assured hand, he seems to be a little shaky with this one. Some sequences excite initially, only to end in disappointing closures. The revelation at the end of the film seems quite forced, as do the squabbles among the siblings.
What to do: Any good family drama has a well-worn balance of measured ups and downs. Adaptation or not, it can’t bore you too much. This Is Where… seems confused about which side of the fence it wants to be.