Take a Drink: for each reoccurring joke. Make it a double if the joke is about Mom’s boobs.
Do a Shot: every time someone cheats/attempts to cheat.
Take a Drink: every time you’re confused about who exactly a character is.
Do a Shot: whenever a character divulges private information about someone else that only movie families do.
Take a Drink: every time someone starts crying.
Chug Your Drink: for the full duration of every family argument.
By: Hawk Ripjaw (Four Beers) –
This is Where I Leave You focuses on Judd Altman (Jason Bateman), a talk radio assistant who walks in on is wife banging his boss (Dax Shepard, playing an asshole for the first time ever). Then right after that, his dad dies because this movie needs a reason for things to happen. That reason is that the dad, who was not Jewish, for some reason said “For my dying wish, I want my family to sit shiva when I die.” Yep, the last thing he ever asked for in the world was for his non-religious family to perform an ancient Jewish mourning ritual that causes them to be confined in a house in seven days and for each of those seven days sit in uncomfortable chairs while friends come and talk about the deceased, thus causing movie plot. And since this family is so hideously dysfunctional and includes people like Tina Fey and Corey Stoll playing people that I don’t give enough of a shit about to look up, you can bet that bickering will ensue. And oh, it does ensue. If Gladiator was a family drama on NBC and took place in the present time without swords, it would be this. Actually, Gladiator has nothing to do with this movie. I just wish I was watching Gladiator.
Wait, hold on…
Hehe, there we go.
What else is going on? Well, Timothy Olyphant has brain damage and acts weird, and props to him for not acting his fucking ass off in order to get an Oscar. He basically just talks about how he can’t remember stuff, and at one point I think he takes out someone else’s trash but I wasn’t sure because I thought he was living in someone else’s house. Also the hot wife from Insidious is here and totally in love with Jason Bateman.
Do you know what I just realized? Jason Bateman’s name is one letter away from being JASON BATMAN. And that’s fucking awesome.
As you can see, pretty much anything would be better than talking about this movie.
For the rest of the movie, lots of people argue, cry, laugh, and fuck someone who is not their significant other. I was actually surprised Bateman and Fey didn’t do it at one point as a way of illustrating that this family’s incessant bickering is just a lot of pent-up sexual aggression remedied only by incest.
That Horrible Bosses 2 trailer is great, isn’t it? And Guardians of the Galaxy was playing in the next theater and was so fucking loud I could hear most of it, which was kinda nice.
Jason Bateman is a great actor, and I love him unconditionally despite his apparently terrible agent that keeps getting him bad movies. He’s a strong actor that plays the straight man quite well, even if the whole “Everyone in my family is crazy” is a shtick he’s played so many times that his default expression is one of exasperation and annoyance. It’s like a half chub Resting Bitch Face for Men.
Not really sure why everyone keeps asking me “But how was Adam Driver?” He was good, OK? He was good in this movie even though his character was a total cock.
I haven’t read the Jonathan Tropper novel this is based on, but the author adopted his own work into this movie’s screenplay, and either he’s a bad novelist or this is a bad adaptation. Or both. But it takes way too long for different characters to be fully revealed as to who the hell they actually are. A good ensemble comedy weaves all of the characters together. This movie LITERALLY crams them all into one room at the same time. I didn’t figure out that Timothy Olyphant’s brain-damaged character Horry wasn’t part of the family until they start taking about how he used to date Tina Fey, although that was STILL confusing because at that part of the movie I was still banking on incest happening. Still, everything is really confusingly laid out and there’s a really unpleasant balance of characters that really does not work very well at all. Either they should have cut some folks, or just done a better damn job at introducing them.
Anytime it tries to be funny, that’s shot down shortly after with drama. Whenever it starts to get weepy and dramatic, it’s neutered seconds later with another stupid joke. There are ways to balance comedy and drama, but This is Where I Leave You doesn’t do it well at all. It’s like someone telling you your son died in a car accident, and then you laugh together because “But he died a virgin! What a loser!” And your son is fifteen. The supposed big emotional moment of the movie, where Bateman finally breaks down and cries over the death of his father over spending almost two hours of film being hard as nails and brooding at the idiocy of his family is poorly directed but reasonably effective… until Bateman makes a boob joke.
Everyone’s excited about this being Shawn Levy’s first R-rated movie. So daring! So different! Actually, it’s not. This is one of the safest comedies I’ve seen in a long time. There is almost nothing here that pushes the envelope at all, and if they’d ditched the f-bombs this would have been a very tame PG-13. Yeah, there are jokes about sex, and there’s a joke about how Dad used to put his penis in between Mom’s boobs but everyone knows The Backyardigans made that joke in 2009, and in music form.
Really, the most frustrating thing about This is Where I Leave You is that it’s got pieces of a good movie that don’t come together correctly to make an actual good movie. The script feels like it would have good parts… had it remained in a novel. The actors seem intermittently interested, and the familial drama is something that we’ve all seen (or lived) before, only in better places. Do yourself a favor, save the $10 and pick a fight with your mother to get the same basic thing.