‘This Is Where I Leave You’ review: Family dysfunction at its finest

This adult comedy drama utilizes its A-list acting lineup to actually tell a story.

With a list of stars long enough to fill out a baseball field, you might want to just lump “This Is Where I Leave You” with stunt-casted dreck like “New Year’s Eve” or “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.”

But this adult comedy drama, based on the novel by Jonathan Tropper, who also wrote the screenplay, is a perfectly cast story of family dysfunction that utilizes its ace acting lineup to tell a story instead of just filling it with people looking for a paycheck.

With the death of its patriarch, the Altman family reunites, bringing Judd (Jason Bateman), Wendy (Tina Fey), Paul (Corey Stoll) and Phillip (Adam Driver) under the same roof. As per their dad’s dying wish, they will be sitting Shiva, a week-long Jewish mourning period, with their mother Hillary (Jane Fonda) and their significant others.

The members of the family all have their own issues: Judd recently came home to find his wife shagging his boss; Paul and his wife are having trouble conceiving; Wendy is in a loveless marriage and Phillip is a man-child who brings his new girlfriend, a clone of his mother.

Trapped under one roof, emotions are high and the revelations come rapidly from all angles.

With all the comedic talent here, this is a funny film, but it also allows the cast to seriously flex its comedic muscles. It’s a movie that feels classic, like its from 30 years ago, but only in the best way.

3.5 stars
Directed by Shawn Levy
Starring Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Jane Fonda, Adam Driver, Rose Byrne, Corey Stoll, Kathryn Hahn, Connie Britton, Timothy Olyphant, Dax Shepard
Rated R

Scott A. Rosenberg