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This Is Where I Leave You – A Nice Try – Review

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Photo Courtesy WarnerBrothers

Set in some unidentified city in upstate New York (I promise our cities have names and everything when you come to visit), Jason Bateman stars as Judd – a man whose marriage falls apart when he discovers his boss (Dax Shepard) is sleeping with his wife, Quinn (Abigail Spencer).  As you can imagine, Judd kind of quits his job, too.

When it rains it pours, so Judd needs to return back home after his father passes away.  It was dear old Dad’s last request that Judd join his mother, Hillary (Jane Fonda), and three siblings Wendy (Tina Fey), Phillip (Adam Driver), and Paul (Corey Stoll) in sitting Shiva, even though they are not Jewish.  This means all of them will be under the family roof for seven days just when each of them is facing some major crisis in life.  Secrets will be revealed!

Can they all survive the week?

Do you think each one will help the other confront the problems they are facing in life?

Do you hear the sarcasm coming through the computer screen as I type it and you read it?

Chalk this one up as a nice try.  While This Is Where I Leave You is predictable with horrible tone issues, the great cast keeps you interested and milks a few decent moments out of this tired old cow.

This Is Where I Leave You is a dramedy in every sense of the word, but the tone swings too wildly from drama to comedy and back again, many times within the same scene or same line of dialogue.  It’s too much and director Shawn Levy would do well by learning a little bit of subtlety, so the yucks and guffaws don’t end up tripping over the tears and empathy.

Even when he is trying to deliver some sweet, nice, touching moments, Levy has a tendency to lay it on a bit thick.  Much of this can be attributed to writer Jonathan Tropper (who wrote the source material novel) because he has framed this is a stereotypical all-families-are-screwed-up tale.  Yet, we like these people, so you are willing to cut this movie more slack than it deserves.

Bateman is a great lead who can play drama and comedy with ease, and captures the uneasiness of the character at all of the right moments.  Fey is fine, but her character needs more time to develop, and there is too much going on here to let that happen.

This Is Where I Leave You starts off in sit-com fashion with plenty of big, broad comedy relying on outrageousness and inappropriateness to make us laugh, but Levy and the cast want the movie to be better than that, and try to make it work.  Sometimes, they succeed.  More often, they fail.

2waffles_sml2 Waffles (Out of 4)

This Is Where I Leave You is rated R for language, sexual content and some drug use.

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