Movie Review: “This Is Where I Leave You” – Good Cast, Bad Script

Written by Samah Ali September 22, 2014

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When a death occurs in a family, all members return to their childhood home and grieve the loss of their loved one. Rejoicing and reuniting after years of avoiding family functions, memories are brought back and old drama resurfaces after years of being closeted away. “This is Where I Leave You” follows the same, age-old script and although appearing to be original, the movie brings you nothing but cheesy lines and mediocre heartwarming moments.

Recently separated Judd Altman (Jason Bateman) goes on a hiatus after walking in on his wife (Abigail Spencer) having an affair with his boss (Dax Shepard). As his life spirals out of control, loosing his job and marriage, he receives news that his father has passed away after months of being sick. Forced to return to his small town, he reunites with his siblings, Wendy (Tina Fey), Paul (Corey Stoll), Phillip (Adam Driver), and his mother (Jane Fonda). To honor his father’s dying wish of sitting shiva, the family is forced to sit together for the next seven days and rediscover their closeted emotions towards each other.

“For the next seven days you are all my children again… And you are all grounded”

With a typical, family movie that ultimately ends with rediscovered love and meaning after returning home, this movie captured all of those emotions in the cheesiest way possible. “This is Where I Leave You” starts off promising with a fun, interactive beginning which quickly descends into a tacky, not-so-typical-but-typical romantic comedy. Originally based off a book, the author also writes the screenplay and makes you question if his writing is as cliché in the book as well. With cringe-worthy lines, an unneeded love story, and a mess of irrelevant side stories, you wonder where the real family drama plays in. You essentially end up watching a knock off “August: Osage County”.

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Although the writing wasn’t the highlight of the film, the star studded cast made the movie. Filling the characters with emotions, dramatic tension, and portraying the suppressed pain of losing their father, Bateman, Fey, Stoll, and Driver carried the film and brought a delightful humor along with it. Emulating the family dynamics between stolen girlfriends, car accidents, and the perks of being the family baby, the cast outshined their mediocre script and made the movie more entertaining to watch. Fonda was a lovely, motherly figure in the cast’s lives, but fell short of her talented acting skills when displaying the movie’s unforeseen plot twist. Better luck next time!

“Dad would have hated his funeral”

Overall, the film attempted to be more sentimental then it needed to be, causing the writer to get carried away with cliché lines and unorganized progression of scenes. Piecing random, irrelevant memories together between characters tried convicting compassion and relation towards the movie but fell short of drawing the audience in. A huge kudos goes to the cast for carrying the movie and adding the necessary charm to make the film better then the script allowed it to be. “This is Where I Leave You” is a great example of what a talented cast can do to allow a movie to succeed. Congratulations Casting Director, this one is on you!

Rating: 6/10

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About Samah Ali

Samah Ali

With a deep admiration for film, television, and music, Samah spends most of her free time expressing and sharing her love for the arts. Studying Creative Writing at Western University, she enjoys writing about film & music and shapes her passions with the latest movie or album available.

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