A recently departed father, an unstoppable mother, four middlingly successful children, their neighbourhood past flings and one week at the family home. We all know where this is headed. Still Levy, working with a novel and screenplay by Jonathan Tropper, had a good thing going with the cast he brought together. However, a film is not just the sum of its parts, even if many of those parts have to do with sexual anatomy.
So, a running joke in This is Where I Leave You is Hillary’s (Fonda) breast implants. She stuns with them at her husband’s funeral, when hugging her children, and particularly when bent down laying the bed for her son. Another matter of endless humour is eldest son Paul’s (Stoll) efforts to have a child with wife (a wasted Hahn). Wendy’s (Fey) 3-year-old son carries his potty around and shows what he has done inside, while Judd (Jason) walks in on his wife cheating on him with his boss. The fourth and youngest child, Philip (Driver), is an endless flirt.
The four sons and their mother go through the usual cycle of recrimination, remembrance, remorse and rediscovery. If Bateman and Fonda emerge most successfully from it, you can come away with this one line told by Penny (Byrne) to old flame Judd — “Anything can happen. Anything happens all the time.”
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