Director: Shawn Levy
Writer: Jonathan Tropper
Cast: Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Jane Fonda, Adam Driver, Kathryn Hahn, Timothy Olyphant, Rose Byrne, Corey Stoll, Connie Britton
Studio: Warner Brothers

“This Is Where I Leave You” is yet another funeral film. After the rollicking laughfest that was “August: Osage County”, I figured that we’d get a year’s reprieve. But, Jane Fonda wanted to show to the world that she’s still alive and still able to get rambunctious Vietnam Vets into a tizzy. Unfortunately, the woman hasn’t made a quality film since 1980. The streak continues, as she headlines what amounts to a limp wristed knock-off of “The Royal Tenenbaums”. Which that film was a hipster knock-off of “The Hotel New Hampshire”. Somewhere, John Irving is sitting on a pile of fat cash and laughing about how he did it better.

If you’ve seen one family drama about hidden secrets played for dark laughs, then you’ve seen them all. Old relationships are rekindled, twisted ones are examined and somebody’s parent embarrasses the gathered party. In fact, a great deal of the film deals with the fact that Jane Fonda wrote a popular book about her family roughly 25 years ago. Everyone is still dealing with the aftermath, as they are vain little shits who can’t handle that sometimes life shits in your cereal. Bateman’s sad bastard moping works well as a man who spends most of the film getting kicked around. While, everyone else comes and goes way too fast for a lasting impression. That’s why the trailer and TV spots are so scattershot!

If anything, Bateman and Fey’s characters seem to get off way too lightly. The film adaptation doesn’t really explain that well what happened to Horry, even though the book goes into slightly greater detail. It seems like a cheat to make Fey seem more likeable for an audience. Plus, Bateman seems obvious to the fact that he’s poorly aping a Wes Anderson lead in a far more mainstream friendly film. Imitation isn’t always the greatest form of flattery, sometimes it’s just outright lazy.


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