Plot: When their father passes away, four grown siblings are forced to return to their childhood home and live under the same roof together for a week, along with their over-sharing mother and an assortment of spouses, exes and might-have-beens.
This is Where I Leave You enters the family drama genre with very loose footing. I actually had some laughs and good fun but it is apparent that there are huge wholes un the story. There is a great cast on screen – Jason Bateman; Tina Fey and Rose Byrne provided good performances. I also enjoyed Adam Driver and Corey Stoll, and pretty much most of the cast. I thought adding Jane Fonda into the mix was unnecessary and icky – the woman does not look human with all that plastic surgery and desperate attempts to stay youthful.
The storyline had some desperate attempts at humour – sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t. The sex over the baby monitor, Hillary Atman (Jane Fonda) loudly sharing her husband’s sexual prowess and the family’s way too open policy about Paul and Annie trying to get pregnant all felt like designated movie tricks to just get attention. I come from a family that never hesitates to say something out loud, and believe me, they were a bit much.
Jason Bateman is the best thing of this movie. His character has much more on his plate than his other siblings who are just dealing with one problem each. He finds his wife banging his boss, his dad dies, his cheating wife gets pregnant, a cute girl from years before, his insane mother. It obviously represents one of those moments in life where everything happens at one time. I’ve often felt like it, and although it is an over dramatization it is fairly humorous to see his life just going up in flames. I also liked him because he’s the middle kid and has such a set plan in life – I am not all that different! Jason Bateman is an extremely likeable character in here – he is the less screwed up of his family and doesn’t seem prone to lash out in anger.
I didn’t enjoy Jane Fonda’s presence. She seems plastically modified and her character is horrible – who documents her children’s lives in a published novel, embarrassing them with everything they’ve ever done? I also found her final story arc just too forced, like an attention seeking finale to gather support for the film.
The story tried to deal with family dynamics and relationships but I felt there wasn’t enough detail to really satisfy me. Tina Fey’s character, Wendy Altman, obviously has some major issues that are unresolved with her high school boyfriend having brain damage and her feeling guilty about leaving him and the town. Her relationship with her husband is completely underdeveloped and he just seems like some bit character to gather more sympathy for Wendy. Adam Driver is the typical baby in the family – he doesn’t need to account for his troubles, he lives a free flowing life because everyone will always catch him when he falls, typical youngest behavior. It is very evident that his relationship with a much older woman is really just to shock his family and gain financial benefits from the woman, one who delivers quite some decent screen time for a bit character.
The movie has some very funny moments, and Rose Byrne is very charming as Judd’s love interest. I enjoyed the relationship between Judd and Wendy, they had their grown-up sibling relationship well done.
TIWILY was not badly done and I had a good time with it. It isn’t as good as the other family dramas that clog the genre, but it is worth your time if it is your type of movie 🙂