Strong performances create a heartfelt and funny portrait of a quirky family in "This Is Where I Leave You." NY1's Neil Rosen filed the following review.
Jason Bateman, Jane Fonda and Tina Fey team up with a strong ensemble cast in a new film that's one part comedy, one part drama. It's called "This Is Where I Leave You."
Bateman plays Judd Altman, and he's having a bad day. Not only has he received news of his father's passing, but earlier, he discovered that his wife was cheating on him with his boss.
All of Judd's siblings gather at their mom's fancy Westchester home to sit Shiva, the Jewish custom of mourning together for one week.
This family doesn't really get along and the premise of forcing them to spend a week together is one that director Shawn Levy takes good advantage of.
Everyone here carries lots of emotional baggage. Adam Driver is quite funny as the younger brother, an irresponsible stoner who shows up with a much older girlfriend played by Connie Britton.
Corey Stoll is the serious brother, whose wife is played by the always delightful Kathryn Hahn. This couple is having a hard time conceiving and complicating matters is the fact that Bateman and Hahn used to be an item years earlier.
Tina Fey is the sister who stills holds a torch for her old boyfriend, who's now permanently brain damaged due to a car accident.
Then there's Fonda, who's quite amusing as the family matriarch. She's a woman who's prone to embarrassing her children by frequently giving them explicit details about the sex life she shared with her deceased husband.
But it's Bateman who's really the central character here. He reacquaints himself with another old girlfriend played Rose Byrne and his laid back style works nicely.
Some of the supporting characters aren't fully developed, while several storylines seem a bit contrived.
More often than not, however, screenwriter Jonathan Tropper adapts from his novel well and creates situations that draw you in and often make you laugh.
The stellar cast is first rate, elevating whatever weaknesses there are in the material, and the overall result is an endearing, dysfunctional family that you'll enjoying spending a few hours with.
Neil Rosen's Big Apple Rating: Three Apples