The first thing you’ll notice about This is Where I Leave You is its amazing leading line-up. Jason Bateman takes the central role and is supported by names such as Tina Fey, Adam Driver and Jane Fonda. With a cast like that this film is basically the The Expendables of dramady. Unfortunately, the comparisons don’t stop there as This is Where I Leave You, much like The Expendables, is not very good.
The film follows Bateman’s character, a pretty standard forty something named Judd Altman, as he finds out first that his wife is having an affair, and shortly thereafter that his father has died. As his well kept life crumbles about him, Altman must return to his home town and spend a week with his highly dysfunctional family whom he hasn’t seen in years.
So absolutely nothing new there then.
This story has been done to death, and the film does not do it better than its competitors. Where audiences expected to see Bateman trading witty barbs with his estranged siblings, we’re treated to crude jokes about masturbation and literal potty humour.
One of his brothers has a toddler who’s potty training, and that’s a full joke, re-used throughout the whole film. It’s not all bad however, Bateman’s performance is really convincing. It should be though, he’s had years of practice at it since he’s just playing Michael Bluth from Arrested Development.
In contrast, Tina Fey was disappointingly awkward as Judd’s sister Wendy. It was a character who was supposed to cry a lot in very emotionally charged scenes, but Fey just couldn’t seem to get the hang of it. She ended up being very distracting and actually kind of funny.
The rest of the cast were fine, but there were so many of them that nobody really got enough time to develop properly; every character got their own sad but vaguely uplifting storyline.
This film tried to cram in so much feeling into one film that in the end it all it boiled down to was a string of tired cliches.