My final review for this weekend deviates from the Thriller path into one a little more down to Earth and family oriented. Instead of running from fictitious beasts, or hunting down two ridiculous, this movie focuses on familial drama and complicated relationships. Have you guessed the movie yet? Well of course you have, it’s none other than This is Where I Leave You, another film with a cavalcade of stars to act out the drama at hand. Now many of you have seen the trailers and most likely laughed at some of the clips they had to offer. Of course we all know the trailer editors are masters of seducing audience members. So I’ve returned to my lair of the local movie theater to give you some insight into the latest comedy of the month.
This Is Where I Leave You is a mess of family issues all coming together in one giant wreck when the father of the group dies. At the request of the dying man, the family is to spend seven days together to provide the opportunity to reflect and spend some quality time. However, being forced into one living quarters for any “significant” amount of time is sure to bring some issues out in the open, especially ones that have been stirring for quite some time. Although it is dubbed a comedy, this film I felt was more of a Drama than anything as a variety of issues surfaces over the course of the movie. Each sibling has some underlying problem that seems to be one dimensional at first only to evolve into a much more complicated mess. Fans of such soap opera dynamics will instantly fall in love with this movie, as relationships, jobs, and personal qualities all come up to the chopping block of family intervention. Fortunately for you drama lovers, these issues are not simple high school level problems, but much bigger and deeper offering many sub-plots for you to get wrapped into. Yet for this reviewer, so many issues in one movie were a little overbearing or too conveniently timed to fit into the whole mess. Some of these issues are dragged out across the story, only to be suddenly wrapped up in the end in a rather bland conclusion, if concluded at all. Despite some of the antics and drama being annoying though, what kept me enthralled in it was the relativity. Surely everyone who sees this movie, not counting kids mind you, can find some character to relate to. While not exact in every detail, I was able to place his own drama in the mix, further grasping my attention to what was coming.
Now with all the drama, you might be a little scared that there is a lack of comedy aspect to this movie. My friends you have no need to fear, this movie is filled with comedy moments in the form of dialog, situational, and a little sarcasm thrown in as well. I warn you now that this movie is not the kind of comedy that is filled with repetitive one-liners, out of control stupidity, or farfetched actions. Instead it’s very natural comedy that is dryer in nature and cleverer than the typical milieu we get these days. The dialog is simplistic and realistic, and often what you would find in a typical family outing. Insults are well timed and personalized, occasionally throwing in some more general jokes into the fray. Fights amongst the brothers quickly grow out of hand, and childish behavior rears its head in some of the most embarrassing scenes. And as you have seen in the trailers, there are a few touch ups some of the family members have, so inappropriate at times that you can’t help but laugh at the awkwardness. Of course one of my favorite antics was the little boy in the house, who was modeled to be cute, as he shared his potty achievements with the adults. Such simplistic comedy goes a long way in my shoes, and relating it to my own family members. Some of the sexual antics are a little out of my enjoyment area, and unfortunately a few curse words are overused at times.
As for the acting, there are just too many characters to mention, so I’ll stick to my favorites and wrap this up. First off I loved Tina Fey in this movie. Sassy, strong, and caring, all of these qualities were evenly mixed to make her the guardian sister of the group. I was thoroughly entertained by her in this movie and enjoyed her not acting like she was in an SNL skit. Adam Driver was a welcome addition, his ridiculousness helping him stand out from the group, though he was a little annoying at points. Still Driver did a nice job with his lines, and covered the emotional spectrum quite well. However, the biggest surprise was leading actor Jason Bateman. For once his monotone acting didn’t annoy me, because his dry humor was shoved down my face. Being the center of the story, Bateman brought his character’s story to life, his emotions adapting to the situation and breaking that emotionless cast we typically see him in. His chemistry with the others was good, and overall was a much better character for me.
This is where I leave you is a movie that I feel many drama lovers will love, and is a nice change from the flood of generic movies we get. Clever writing, realistic characters and some interesting lessons will keep many entertained in the fall until November hits. It is definitely not the greatest movie, and I didn’t laugh as hard as in some other films, but I say give it a chance. My scores are:
Movie Overall: 7.5