Second from my list of 4 upcoming movies not on your radar is This is where I leave you. I was pretty excited about this movie. Mostly because I think 2014 has been a very down year for comedies. Just not many of substance, especially with an ensemble cast. I’m a huge fan of Tina Fey and Jason Bateman. I think they both possess an inhuman sense of comedic timing. They can make scenes funny. For a bonus I got some Jane Fonda too (Will you marry me?) my body was ready for this movie.
The story follows Judd as he returns home for the unfortunate passing of his father. Judd is reeling on the discovery of his wives infidelity with his Boss. His family is as dysfunctional as most movie families are. They are forced to sit Shiva for their fathers funeral, which is ironic because their father wasn’t deeply religious. Making it seven hours with each other probably would have been difficult, would they survive seven entire days?
I’m gonna cut to the chase fairly quickly with this movie. I would normally detail pieces of the movie first before giving my insight, but there isn’t any real need. This movie ultimately struggles to do what it set out to do. The elegance of Jane Fonda, and the comedic chops of Bateman and Fey aren’t enough to keep the flaws out of plain sight. Where this movie ultimately suffers the most from is, its not really a comedy. Even though the trailer and casting would suggest other wise. If you’ve seen Vince Vaughns “Break Up” or Jason Siegals “5 year engagement” then your familiar with what I’m talking about. All and all, I have a bone to pick with these kinds of movies. There isn’t a reason to bamboozle an audience like this. If you don’t have faith to present your film as what it really is…I dunno… please go kick rocks. That’s not to say, this movie isn’t funny at all. There are some scenes and one liners deserving a good laugh, but the tempo and mood do not support a comedy at all. The entire second half has some real serious issues and implications. Which is ultimately the biggest shame of the film. The issues that all the family members are suffering are actually pretty heart-felt. Issues that, while probably not the most original are at least believable and mostly sympathetic to.
Overall, the characters end up being a little too south of likeable. You got the resentful oldest brother, who stayed behind to help run fathers business. The childish younger bother who can’t seem to keep a job or even perceive responsibility. The sister who happens to be the only one with children. They all suffer from some pretty intense issues of their own, and unfortunately NONE of them gets any type of resolution by the end of the film. Batemans character Judd comes the closest, but if that’s what you call a resolution… well yeah, I dunno.
If you were looking forward to this movie like me. I’m really sorry to burst your bubble. It’s better I burst your bubble instead of you paying to see this like I did. As a drama the movie is mostly thoughtful, but as a comedy it’s not in the right ball park. To be fair, maybe I’m being too critical. However, like I said earlier. When a movie is marketed as a comedy but is something different in when you go see it. So disappointing. Especially, people go see comedies for a reason. Either they want a pick me up for a below average day or week. Maybe they are feeling really good and want to keep the train moving. Dramas have a time and place, and you have to be prepared for the emotional tones it’s about to give you. When you’re in the mood for something light and fun and end up with the equivalent to reading the dictionary before you take your SATs. Just leaves a bad taste in your mouth.
Not a bad movie… just struggles to figure out what it really wants to be.