Variety's resident film reviewer Scott Foundas writes, “`This Is Where I Leave You' is a sprawling ensemble dramedy that starts out like a full-tilt sitcom and gradually migrates to a place of genuine feeling. Repping a concerted effort by `Night at the Museum' and `Cheaper by the Dozen' helmer Shawn Levy to spread his wings beyond the gilded cage of family-friendly tentpoles, this alternately manic and mawkish adaptation of Jonathan Tropper’s 2009 novel aims for `Terms of Endearment' territory and ends up somewhere closer to a Semitic `August: Osage County.' But a tremendous ensemble cast gives the pic a significant boost, especially when they’re allowed to act rather than merely act out.
|Photo courtesy of Warner Bros.|
Continues Foundas, “[A]round the halfway mark, the movie quits trying quite so hard to make you love it and takes on a more nuanced, lifelike countenance. After setting up so many pat, obvious conflicts, Tropper’s screenplay then works through them in a somewhat less obvious fashion. The characters actually end up having to make some hard choices.”
Meanwhile, Betsy Sharkey of Los Angeles Times recommends that she “[C]an't think of a family I'd rather sit shiva with than the Altmans of `This Is Where I Leave You.' They bury their father with the right mix of tears and unearthed resentments, and they take the blows life hands them seriously enough but in stride. As if they are nothing special..This is exactly the charm of Jonathan Tropper's novel on which the comedy/drama is based.”
For his part, Newday's Rafer Guzman applauds, “Shawn Levy's new film, `This Is Where I Leave You,' checks off so many Hollywood boxes that you might suspect it of blatant pandering. Star-studded cast? Check. Based on best-selling novel? Check. Drama, romance, humor and pathos, all set against that instantly identifiable backdrop, the American suburb? Check, check and check.
“Despite or perhaps because of all that, `This Is Where I Leave You' works marvelously. Written by Jonathan Tropper from his novel about a dysfunctional Jewish family sitting shiva for its patriarch, [the film] is the year's first real crowd pleaser, a comedy-drama that presses all the right buttons but does so with intelligence and skill. It's not too heavy, not too light -- just right for a grown-up night at the movies.
Finally, Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter praises, “You laugh in spite of yourself in `This Is Where I Leave You,' a potty-mouthed comedy with enough exasperation, aggravations, long-standing grievances and get-me-outta-here moments of family stress to strike a chord with anyone who’s ever had to endure large clan gatherings that might have lasted a bit too long. The fact that many people will find something or someone to identify with here, even if they don’t have a mother with big new boobs prone to talking about sex most of the time the way Jane Fonda does here, should make Shawn’s Levy’s first R-rated comedy a much-needed hit for Warner Bros. Levy’s orchestration of the mayhem is silky smooth.”
The dramatic comedy “This is Where I Leave You” is directed by Shawn Levy, and based on the hilarious and poignant best-selling novel by Jonathan Tropper. It features a starring ensemble cast, including Jason Bateman, Tina Fey and Jane Fonda.
When their father passes away, four grown siblings, bruised and banged up by their respective adult lives, are forced to return to their childhood home and live under the same roof together for a week, along with their over-sharing mother and an assortment of spouses, exes and might-have-beens. Confronting their history and the frayed states of their relationships among the people who know and love them best, they ultimately reconnect in hysterical and emotionally affecting ways amid the chaos, humor, heartache and redemption that only families can provide—driving us insane even as they remind us of our truest, and often best, selves.
“This is Where I Leave You” is distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment company.