I should’ve left early before I finished This Is Where I Leave You. But no – I stayed for the whole thing.
My loss. It was absolutely horrible, as glib and smarmy as I didn’t predict it would be. So much for my capacity for prediction.
And so much for enjoying the two hours I spent in the theater. The film – directed by Shawn Levy and concerning, in a nutshell, the gathering of a group of semi-Jewish (the question does, self-consciously, arise during the proceedings as to whether they are of this religion) siblings at the family home after the death of their father – strained credibility to the nth degree in its attempt to blend coarse humor with heartfelt sensitivity. Neither worked, and the fact that this ensemble piece featured quite a few ill-defined characters made it all the less credible.
A number of good actors worked on this project. Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Adam Driver, among others. They couldn’t save it, however, and despite their innate charm, the picture went to pieces. The script, adapted by Jonathan Tropper from his novel, was snarky without being believable and showcased plenty of less-than-credible situations, including what seemed like an endless series of fights, arguments and couplings that never went anywhere plausible. Couple that with a time span that was way too long, and you’ve got a rambling, tiresome picture.
So why did I see this? Why did I pass the time watching this flick when I could’ve exited with my dignity intact?
I don’t know. All I can say is I’m only human. It was a lapse in judgment. I could’ve saved those two hours for something productive.
On the other hand, if I didn’t see it, I wouldn’t have written this review. Maybe it was meant to be.
Mysterious ways. If only there was a bit of that in This Is Where I Leave You.