|Boob Job Fonda,|
Cutesy-pies it up.
Dir. Shawn Levy
Starring: Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Jane Fonda, Adam Driver, Rose Byrne, Corey Stoll, Ben Schwartz
Review By Greg Klymkiw
It would take a death in the family to get the Altmans under one roof again. Luckily the loving hubby of Hilary (Jane Fonda), a famous sex therapist with a new boob job, has just died. His last request, in spite of not being religious, is that his surgery-enhanced wife and his kids sit Shiva for him. Oy! The kids have their own problems. Judd (Jason Bateman) a recently-cuckolded radio producer, the unhappily married Wendy (Tina Fey), Phillip (Adam Driver) the womanizing baby of the family and Paul (Corey Stoll) the eldest son who's not only a dullard but drawing blanks with his wife to have their first child, all agree to seven days of mourning and reflection, and all living in their parents' house.
Needless to say, this dysfunctional family spars endlessly, but in so doing, they come to new understandings and discover how much they all really love each other.
Isn't that special?
Uh, not really. In spite of a few good lines sprinkled throughout and a uniformly fine cast, This Is Where I Leave You is pretty much a case of been-there-done-that. Playing like an extended TV sitcom episode, it even rushes to a climax where everyone and everything converges to tie up most of the loose ends into relatively neat bows. Director Shawn Levy, who surprisingly generated a solid science fiction action-adventure romp, 2011's Reel Steel and the fun fantasy of A Night At The Museum, falls back on his competent, but unexciting camera jockeying comfort zone from such unexceptional comedies as Cheaper By the Dozen, The Pink Panther and Date Night.
It would take an incredibly indiscriminate audience to swallow this with anything more exciting than the kind of blank passivity one reserves for time-killing, pure and simple. For me, the only thing that piqued my interest were some strangely coincidental items which inspired a bit of conspiracy theory conjecture on my part. I found it mildly annoying that this attractive cast living in an upscale environment were engaging in all manner of boozing and ingestion of both illicit and prescription drugs. At one point, Jane Fonda's character quips that she's popping Xanax like candies. My mind started to reel. Isn't Jane Fonda married to Ted Turner, I thought? He's the multi-zillion-billion-kajillion-aire who has been advocating all manner of culling poor people from the face of the planet in order to save it. I'm watching the movie and doing the math. Hmmm. Jane Fonda. Xanax as candy. Rich, attractive people engaging in addictive behaviour. TED TURNER. Population Reduction. Eugenics. Oh My God! Hollywood, the propaganda machine of the rich and famous.
All of this was floating through my head while watching this movie to alleviate the been-there-done-that boredom I was feeling, which certainly says A LOT about this picture's numbing mediocrity.
Then it occurred to me that Fonda and Turner divorced some time ago.
Still, I thought. Anything's possible.
THE FILM CORNER RATING: *½ One-and-a-half stars
This is Where I Leave You is a Gala Presentation at TIFF 2014 and a Warner Bros. release.
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