Despite its unfortunate title, Shawn Levy’s This Is Where I Leave You is a family dramatic comedy that grows on you. In that regard, it mimics the story of a dysfunctional family drawn to the funeral of the head of the family. There are all the hesitations and little quarrels before the fun and bigger quarrels erupt.
Jane Fonda, who plays the deceased’s wife, insists that the family observes the Jewish tradition of shiva, which is a 7-day ritual of sitting together in memory while friends and relatives come by to offer their condolences. She, however, is not Jewish, her husband was an atheist and none of the children are practicing the faith of their father’s ancestors. But, it all makes for the fun and pathos Writer Jonathan Tropper has brought about in both his novel and the film.
The cast is splendid, including Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Rose Byrne, Kathryn Hahn, Connie Britton and Timothy Olyphant. And, the best parts are seeing some of these great performers working together, such as a scene where Tina Fey rests her head on Jane Fonda’s recently enhanced breasts...
....or when Kathryn Hahn, who plays the eldest brother’s wannabe-pregnant wife, tries to get the more fertile brother played by Jason Bateman to impregnate her.
As I said at the top, This Is Where I Leave You build in both laughs and substance. It started out as a 3+, but ended up a 4+ out of 5.