In the similar spirit of ‘The Family Stone’ or last year’s ‘August: Osage County’, Shawn Levy’s (Date Night) ‘This Is Where I Leave You’ is a mixed bag of family drama that leaves you laughing and crying - yet never quite feeling right about either emotion.
With the film’s overstuffing of skilled comedic actors including Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Kathryn Hahn and Dax Shepard, this is clearly a comedy... or is it? See, I’m still not 100 per cent certain.
When the four adult Altman siblings lose their father, they’re reunited at his funeral only to find out that it was their father’s dying wish for his family to sit Shiva, a Jewish tradition of grieving - forcing the entire family, and their assorted partners, to live under one roof for seven days, complete with their over-sharing mother. Being back in their hometown only adds to the complexity of their everyday lives which they can’t seem to escape, now with the added bonus of old loves and “could have beens”.
SWITCH: 'THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU' TRAILER
While the film does seem to focus mainly on Bateman’s character, there are still far too many balls in the air, with each character never getting a decent run to make their story or journey over the 103 minutes complete, or provide satisfactory closure. It appears to be a common case of too much and not enough all at the same time. Within the supporting cast, sensational actors like Connie Britton, Hahn, Timothy Olyphant and Rose Byrne are given far too little to do, pushed to the side as exposition or a misguided presence, with huge amounts of talent sadly wasted.
Disappointingly, this is just one of those films that couldn’t quite make itself work, with the sum of its parts being greater than its whole. It’s a take-it-or-leave-it kind of film, but one that this reviewer is unfortunately going to leave.