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Monday, January 5, 2015

This is Where I Leave You (2014)

I loved this book, and the movie is more or less faithful to the tenets of the book and quite enjoyable, despite what Rotten Tomatoes would have you beleive.

Judd (Jason Bateman) is having a bad week.  He has caught his previously adored wife in bed with his boss, which means he loses his marriage and his job in one fell swoop.  He is ill equipped to deal with this because he is a man who does not like change and he does not like things to be messy.  The blame for that lays pretty squarely with his mother, who wrote a book about child rearing where she shared every embarrassing thing that he did as a child with her readers, so no secrets and a fair amount of bullying at school ensued.  Hilary, the mother/author/therapist (Jane Fonda) is annoyingly narcissistic and self-congratulatory but where she fails to accept responsibility for what she has wrought for her children, she is pretty dead on about who they are as adults  She just hasn't left them equipped to feel joy.

Then Judd's father dies, and Hilary insists that the family sit shiva for a week under the dame roof, and Judd is not the only family member who has problems.  His older brother married an ex-girlfriend of Judd's so that is awkward.  The younger brother (Adam Driver) is a likable but total screw up who arrives driving a fancy car with a rich older girlfriend in tow.  The sister Wendy (Tina Fey) is bitter an unhappy--her high school love, who still lives across the street from her childhood home, was in a car accident that left him brain injured and unable to be on his own.  She has allowed her guilt about leaving him and escaping uninjured to rule her life.  So you can imagine what happens when they are forced to live together for a week.  Wise and funny and a cautionary tale.

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