You May Want to Leave This Is Where I Leave You
Despite a strong cast, critics say this flick falls flat
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 19, 2014 10:02 AM CDT

(Newser) – Tina Fey, Jason Bateman, and Jane Fonda team up in This Is Where I Leave You, a film about siblings brought together by their father's death. Though audiences are somewhat pleased, according to Rotten Tomatoes, critics are instead ready to throw tomatoes. Here's what they're saying:

  • Director "Shawn Levy's blithely manipulative dysfunctional-family comedy" is "a downer, really," writes Steven Rea at the Philadelphia Inquirer. And not in any good way. "The movie toys with real emotions, with our emotions, in ways that are pat and writerly and button-pushing in the cheapest, cheesiest ways."

  • With such a cast, "how is this film not funny?" ponders Ann Hornaday at the Washington Post. Levy "clearly has no idea what to do with an ensemble of actors possessed of proven comic chops," she writes. She calls the flick a "misanthropic misfire" that "leaves you wanting—if not more, than at least better and smarter and more honest."
  • Betsy Sharkey at the Los Angeles Times seems to like the film, though. "I can't think of a family I'd rather sit shiva with than the Altmans of This Is Where I Leave You," she writes. The flick captures "the charm of Jonathan Tropper's novel" of the same name and "the family represents a houseful of minor regrets and modest disappointments that will be recognizable to many."
  • Though the movie offers "a promising start," it goes downhill from there, writes AO Scott at the New York Times. "Instead of smiles or tears, This Is Where I Leave You is most likely to inspire a Kickstarter campaign to reunite its main performers for a different project." Scott deems the film a "lifeless, laughless sitcom-soap that stumbles from one generic situation to the next."