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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Monday, June 22, 2015

Movie Review - This Is Where I Leave You

This Is Where I Leave You (2014)
Starring Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Adam Driver, Rose Byrne, Corey Stall, Kathryn Hahn, Connie Britton, Timothy Olyphant, Dax Shepard, Debra Monk, Abigail Spencer, and Jane Fonda
Directed by Shawn Levy

When their father dies, the Altman family -- siblings Judd, Wendy, Paul, and Philip and their mother Hillary (Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Corey Stall, Adam Driver, and Jane Fonda -- gather together at their childhood home to sit shiva (a seven day Jewish period of mourning) in honor of their dad.  Old sibling rivalries and current spousal struggles rear their ugly heads as the Altmans learn to cope with their patriarch's death.

A completely believable familial banter isn't as easy to come by in films as one would think and the repartee that Bateman, Fey, Stall, and Driver have with one another in This Is Where I Leave You feels genuine.  While Fonda's role is a little over the top, I appreciated that her eccentricities appeared to have at least influenced her grown children's emotional states, helping to further craft authentic characters.  Solid performances by Rose Byrne, Kathryn Hahn, Connie Britton, and Abigail Spencer add to the great cast.

While I would've liked to have had a bit more heart imbued into the flick, I still found myself engaged and interested in each sibling's highs and lows.  This Is Where I Leave You admittedly treads similar paths of typical familial dramedies, but with a stellar cast, director Shawn Levy's flick proves to be a nicely paced, pleasant sleeper that surprisingly balances its myriad of story lines with ease -- some prove a little more successful than others (and a particularly out-of-left-field "surprise" at the film's conclusion seems simply added for shock effect), but the overall result is quite successful.  

The RyMickey Rating:  B

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