This Is Where I Leave You, film review: Smug comedy-drama doesn't take advantage of top-notch cast

(15) Shawn Levy, 103 mins Starring: Jason Bateman, Jane Fonda, Tina Fey, Tim Olyphant
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The Independent Culture

Shawn Levy's comedy-drama about a grieving American family is too smug and sanctimonious to take advantage of its top-notch cast.

Jason Bateman plays a likeable radio producer who discovers that his wife has been cheating on him with his boss (an obnoxious shock-jock) and then that his father has died.

Back home for the funeral, he and his siblings try to "process" their grief. "For the next seven days, you are all grounded," their formidable mother (Jane Fonda as a self-help guru with "bionic breasts") tells them.

There are some funny set-pieces – Bateman and his brothers smoking dope at the father's memorial service and setting off the fire alarm, Tina Fey showing off formidable streetfighting skills – but the film is faced with the same dilemma as its characters. They don't know whether the "correct response" to their own grief is to laugh or cry.