Based on Jonathan Tropper’s 2009 novel, “This is Where I Leave You” is reasonably entertaining while you’re at the movie and instantly forgetful once you leave the theatre. The book was better than the film.
Even though the film has good, well-known actors, the predictability of family dynamics during a shiva in a non-Jewish family, begs the audience to be intrigued. But we’re not. The Altman Family gets together to “mourn” the death of their father. The four siblings sit shiva at the request of the mom (Jane Fonda with a boob job) who is a character study in manipulation and self-interest.
Tina Fey is one of my favorites, but even she is almost completely predictable, with the exception of her love for an endearing neighbor played by Timothy Olyphant (“Justified”). Ms. Fey’s usual spark is missing. Horrie, the neighbor, unfortunately seems like an “add-on” character. He has no real role, his character has a head injury but there is no accurate depiction of what head injury really means. Olyphant’s winning smile almost makes up for the crummy role in which he is cast.
It is rare to go to a movie and have absolutely no residual feeling about the film after leaving the theatre. There you go. No feeling and no recollection of lines. The film has been compared to “The Big Chill” because of a similar story setting. But the similarity ends there. I still remember lines from “The Big Chill.” There really is no comparison between these two films. My advice, don’t bother to see “This is Where I Leave You” and save your money for “Gone Girl” (to be released in the U.S. October 3). See if the film is as good as the book.