This is Where I Leave You

Rated: R

        I’d like to tell you about the dramedy This is Where I Leave You. Ususally, when choosing a movie, I can pretty easily pin down why I want to see it. Maybe some of my favorite actors are in it, or the previews make it look visually stunning, or it has an intriguing plot line. Whatever it is its definitive and as clear as black and white.
        Every once in a while though a movie comes along that sucks me in to wanting to see it even though I may not care for the actors in it, it may not have many, (if any) special effects and the plot line is only so-so. In the case of such movies watching them is a flip of the coin. Sometimes I win and I’m glad I stepped out of my comfort zone in order to see something so wonderful. Sometimes I lose and wish I could turn back the clock and un-see whatever it is.
This is Where I Leave You is just such an oddball. I knew immediately when I saw the trailers for it that I wanted to see it, but still can’t possibly explain why. Yes, it has a stellar cast, but the plot line’s been done to death and it’s certainly not a technological marvel, visually speaking. Whatever the reason was, when it appeared on HBO recently I dropped what I was doing and glued myself to the TV.
This is Where I Leave You is yet another in a long line of dysfunctional family movies. In order to honor their father’s dying wish of sitting shiva (a Jewish mourning tradition where the immediate family of the deceased gather in one home and receive visitors for seven days), four adult siblings gather at their childhood home with their mother, spouses and children to mourn together.
        This film has everything you’d expect it to have, sibling rivalries and fights, the rekindling of old flames, tears, laughs and drama. And yet, despite so much of it being obvious and predictable I still really liked it. Jason Bateman played the same down on his luck type guy he always does, yet you still couldn’t help but feel for him. Corey Stoll played the uptight oldest child, which although he played convincingly, I couldn’t quite believe since Bateman is 6 years older.
         The only thing I didn’t like was Tina Fey’s performance. She plays the middle child, Wendy. There was something passive and unbelievable in Fey’s portrayal of Wendy that kept me from caring much about the character. I think that part of it is the odd accent Fey decided to use. I’m not sure if she was going for New York or Boston or what, but it seemed forced and unnatural. Of course it didn’t help that she only did the accent, whatever it was, about half of the time. What made it even weirder was the fact that no one else did an accent, leading me to wonder if perhaps more dramatic and serious roles are too much of a stretch for Fey.
        All in all
This is Where I Leave You is both funny and touching. It truly astonished me to find that I liked it as much as I did. It left me with a warm, pleasant feeling that was both unexpected and welcomed. Maybe it’s because I’m so sentimental, maybe it was just the mood I was in when I watched it. Either way, if you’re looking for something heartwarming, but not sickeningly so, This is Where I Leave You is a pretty good choice.

This is Where I Leave You is rated R, was directed by Shawn Levy and stars Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Corey Stoll, Jane Fonda, Adam Driver, Rose Byrne, Timothy Olyphant, Kathryn Hahn and Dax Shepard. Its available now on DVD, Blu Ray and digital download.