Boasting an Impressive Cast, ‘This is Where I Leave You’ is Lightly Likable

GameStop, Inc.


It has been said that casting is 90% of directing. Using that metric, Shawn Levy had most of his work done by the time he finally started shooting This is Where I Leave You, and it’s safe to say he just let that other 10% float away with a light breeze. For all intents and purposes, this film isn’t made for me. Though the material is a sappy and sentimental tale of upper class white people, the excellent cast elevates this work into the realm of the lightly likable.

Shortly after his idyllic life crumbles after finding his wife, Quinn (Abagail Spencer), in bed with his boss, Wade (Dax Shepard), Judd Altman (Jason Bateman) learns of his father’s passing. Even though he was an atheist, his mother, Hillary (Jane Fonda), informs the family that his father’s last request was that they sit in shiva, a Jewish ritual of mourning that lasts 7 days. The family returns home from their separate lives. There’s Wendy (Tina Fey), who’s married to a workaholic businessman with a couple children; Paul (Corey Stoll), the one who stayed in the home town, who’s married to Judd’s long ago ex-girlfriend, Alice (Katheryn Hahn), and are desperately trying to have a child of their own; and Phillip (Adam Driver), the youngest of the bunch, a perpetual screw-up, who brings his new fiancé with him, Tracy (Connie Britton), his therapist. Old feuds and romances flow like the booze they self-medicate with. Judd runs into a friend from the past, Penny, who now teaches ice skating while Wendy reminisces about a long-lost romance with a neighbor, Horry (Timothy Olyphant) who suffered massive head trauma years prior.

The excellent cast does their best to keep the material afloat. Bateman plays his signature role, the sarcastic, exasperated straight man, while Fey plays a more subdued version of her typical onscreen persona. Stoll and Driver illustrate why it seems that every casting director in Hollywood is trying to cast them. The biggest disappointment in the film is Rose Byrne. Not because she’s bad in the film, but rather because she appears, lights up the film, and then is woefully underwritten for most of the film’s running time. Had she been given deeper material to work with, Byrne could’ve been the MVP of the film, much like she was with the summer’s Neighbors. Fonda is passable as the matriarch of the Altman family, though the repeated jokes about her boob job get old real fast.

There are glimmers of familial truth in the film, though they’re usually counteracted with an unhealthy dose of melodrama. This is the kind of movie where a benign question like, “How are you?” leads to deep, ponderous conversations that facilitate massive personal understanding and introspection – you know, bullshit. Luckily, the film counteracts its sentimentality with plenty of raunchy, adult humor performed nearly impeccably by its excellent, expansive cast.

This is Where I Leave You continues the trend of comedies focused upon the upper class, and in this particular case an exclusively white upper class. If they’re not driving nice cars, they’re using hired car services with their black town cars with tinted windows. Though the cast is excellent, there are white paper plates with more color.

While I wouldn’t enthusiastically recommend This is Where I Leave You to people with similar tastes to mine, I would recommend it to an older crowd, preferably upper class white people. Even with its flawed sap and sentimentality and the boilerplate direction of Levy, the cast keeps the film afloat. On paper, this is the kind of movie I’d totally hate, and amazingly I didn’t. Truly an impressive feat.



Anytime Costumes

Leave a Reply

Animation/Anime Interviews Animation/Anime News Animation/Anime Reviews Film/TV Interviews Film/TV News Film/TV Review
‘Wednesday’ Comes to Blu-ray on Tuesday from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

‘Wednesday‘ Comes to Blu-ray on Tuesday, March 26, 2024, from Warner...

Toy Lei Talks About Playing Auntie Victoria in ‘The Brothers Sun’ – Interview Rewind

Asian-American actress Toy Lei stars as Auntie Victoria in the new...

Marcus Massey Talks ‘Winnie-The-Pooh: Blood and Honey 2’ – Interview

Marcus Massey Shares his Wisdom as Owl in ‘Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and...

Event News Event Reviews
‘MJ the Musical’ Chronicles the Life of the ‘King of Pop’ Running at Segerstrom – Review

‘MJ the Musical‘ is the Ultimate Stage Adaptation, Chronicling the life...

Aiden Sinclair and Michael Rangel Talks ’57 Ghosts’ Aboard the Queen Mary Séance

Aiden Sinclair and Apparitionist, Michael Rangel Discuss their new Theatrical Séance...

Luke and Madison Rhoades Open ‘Slashers Axe Throwing’ – Interview

Luke and Madison Rhoades Open Orange County’s first ever horror themed...

Automotives Football MMA, Kick Boxing & Boxing Professional Wrestling
Olympic Runner Colleen Quigley ‘On The Road to Paris’

Team USA Olympic Runner, Colleen Quigley is On The Road to...

Paralympian Swimmer Ahalya Lettenberger On The Road to Paris

Team USA Paralympian Swimmer, Ahalya Lettenberger is On The Road to...

Ultimate Women of Wrestling Comes to the Globe Theatre – Interview

Ultimate Women of Wrestling Comes to the Globe Theatre on Sunday,...

Adult Continuity Comics on the Can Cultural Junk Drawer Future Comic Rock Stars Is That Racist? Revisiting the Reviled THAT'S NOT ROTTEN! The B-Reel The Cantina Scene This Week in Crowdfunding What the HELL Did I just...?
Fantoy Comics Presents: Harry Potter and the Pahrump Apocalypse, battle at the Infernal gate pt 2

Oh Bruh, you did NOT just quote "Predator"!

Fantoy Comics Presents: Harry Potter and the Pahrump Apocalypse – Battle at the Infernal Gate pt 1


Fantoy Comics Presents: Harry Potter and the Pahrump Apocalypse – SID SPEAKS!

"We Demons! Let's go CRUNK on this punk-ass world!"

Music Interviews Music News Music Reviews
Joe Kwaczala Talks About His new Comedy Album ‘Funny Songs & Sketches’ – Interview

Joe Kwaczala Talks About His new Comedy Album ‘Funny Songs &...

Songwriter and Poet, Tamara Mechael Talks About Her Career in the Arts

First Generation Assyrian-Chaldean, Songwriter and Poet, Tamara Mechael Talks About Her...

Louden Swain Headlining Los Angeles Show at The Echo

Press Release – Louden Swain are headlining Los Angeles show at...

Enabled Gaming Gaming News Gaming Reviews
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League Gameplay Trailer

The first Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League gameplay trailer was revealed during...

Wonder Woman Game
Wonder Woman Game Announced By DC and WB Games

Wonder Woman game will feature the iconic hero in a 3rd...

MultiVersus brings Batman, Arya Stark, Bugs Bunny, and More

MultiVersus is bringing Shaggy, Harley Quinn, Jake, Batman, Arya Stark, Bugs Bunny,...

Comic Creator Interviews Comic/Graphic Novel News Comic/Graphic Novel Reviews Manga News Manga Reviews Novel/Novella Author Interviews Novel/Novella News Novel/Novella Reviews
Gary Morgenstein Talks ‘A Dugout to Peace’ the Final Installment of his Trilogy

Gary Morgenstein Talks About ‘A Dugout to Peace‘ the final installment...

Chris Clews Is ‘Raised on the 80s’ and Shares Those Life Lessons

Chris Clews was ‘Raised on the 80s‘ and Shares Those Life...

Roye Okupe Brings Authentic African Representation to HBO Max and Cartoon Network

Nigerian-American, Roye Okupe brings authentic African representation to HBO Max and...

Apparel/Personal Maintenance News Apparel/Personal Maintenance Reviews Entertainment Product News Entertainment Product Reviews Food/Beverage Reviews Hardware News Hardware Reviews Mystery Box News Mystery Box Reviews
Harry Potter: Magic Caster Wand Demo

The new ‘Harry Potter: Magic Caster Wand‘ is ready to ship...

Chef Jen Peters and Matthew Clayton Bring us the ‘Good Flour’

Canadian Super Chef Jen Peters and Matthew Clayton Bring us the...

Pop Insider 2021 Holiday Gift Guide
Pop Insider 2021 Holiday Gift Guide

The Pop Insider 2021 Holiday Gift Guide is now available to help...

Gaming Uncensored Toon-In-Talk
Episode 38: Hamid Rahmanian

Join Whitney Grace as she speaks with artist Hamid Rahmanian, who...

No Preview
Toon-In Talk Episode 37: Niki Smith

Whitney Grace interviews graphic novel writer and artist Niki Smith about...

Toon-In Talk Episode 36: Rob Paulsen

Rob Paulsen takes some time from his busy voice acting schedule...