'This is Where I Leave You' is Overstuffed

I don’t know how movies like this still make the mistake of overcrowding the cast and adding senseless plot points to the storyline. You’d think that after Lawrence Kasdan’s The Big Chill that these screenwriters scribing ‘reunion’ and 'get-together’ movies would understand that not all characters are created equal, and some deserve (much) more time than others. Such is the case with This Is Where I Leave You.

Novelist Jonathan Tropper penned the screenplay and that may have ultimately been the reason why this movie failed to live up to its potential.

My biggest gripe with the film falls on the shoulders of Timothy Olyphant and Tina Fey, who are given scenes that ultimately serve no purpose to the overall story. Don’t get me wrong–I like both Fey and Olyphant, but Olyphant and his brain damaged character Horry (the fuck kind of name is that, anyway?) should have been cut from the movie. It’s embarrassing how bad his character and Olyphant and Fey’s ultimately pointless love story are shoehorned in.

'Horry’ should have been excised from the script and instead of featuring Olyphant’s god awful acting, we should have been dealt a stronger dose of Jason Bateman. I’m not a big fan of Bateman, but he’s great in this and at times it feels like we’re robbed of seeing his entire story unfold because of these miniscule plots featuring his siblings. It leaves me wondering if Jason Bateman will ever be part of a truly great film or if he’s destined to continue this series of clunkers and, at best, 'meh’ movies.

Side note: Adam Driver is great (per the usual) but ultimately wasted, and Connie Briton, Corey Stoll, and–surprisingly–Dax Shepard shine the brightest alongside star Jason Bateman.

**/****

Publication: November 21, 2014