Shannon O’Connor ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Editor-in-Chief
This Is Where I Leave You puts the fun in dysfunctional.
After the death of their father, siblings Wendy (Tina Fey), Paul (Corey Stoll), Judd (Bateman) and Phillip (Adam Driver) are forced by their mother (Jane Fonda) to stay under one roof for a week as part of their father’s dying wish.
Throughout this week, the estranged family comes together to work through the darkest moments life has handed them. The Altman family is, at its simplest form, dysfunctional. Despite their fighting and lingering resentment, the Altmans are a family full of people learning to cope with the messiness of life in many different ways – yet they always manage to stick together no matter what.
Jason Bateman shines in one of his greatest roles to date as the Altman family’s middle son who not only is dealing with the death of his father, but also going through a bitter divorce from his wife (Abigail Spencer) who he caught cheating with his boss (Dax Shepard). With the help of his siblings, especially his sister Wendy, Judd begins to come to terms with his current predicament and starts searching for his own happiness in life.
Although Bateman commands the majority of screen time, the stand-out is Tina Fey who flexes serious drama muscles as the sister stuck in a loveless marriage while still pining for her first love (Timothy Olyphant). Fey generously contributes to the uproarious nature of the film; however the vulnerability she emits during her more serious scenes proves there is so much pain underneath her character’s humor.
Even though family dramedies have been done and overdone throughout the years, This Is Where I Leave You brings something new to the genre. With a cast full of relatable characters, the film never feels like a chore to watch; instead audiences will feel so welcomed into the Altman family that by the end of the film they will not only walk away with an overwhelming sense of optimism, but a longing to visit the Altmans again sometime soon.
Overall Grade: B+