In This Is Where I Leave You, Tina Fey, Jason Bateman, Adam Driver and Corey Stoll play siblings reunited for their father’s funeral. They’re convinced by their mother, played by Jane Fonda, to fulfill the pater familias’ final wish for them to sit Shivah for a week, ensuring that they’ll all have to confront their life problems instead of heading back into them immediately.
The trailer is filled with the typical elements of a dramedy: broken lives, personality problems, recognition of life’s messiness, potential new beginnings and smiling reconciliations. It also has Driver stealing scenes and Timothy Olyphant looking like a tennis pro.
Check it out for yourself:
The biggest surprise is that it’s directed by Shawn Levy. That would be tough to guess from the trailer alone (other than the title screen), but it does seem like a natural evolution from the “reconnecting family” motifs of Night at the Museum and Real Steel. He’s shifted fully into dramatic comedy territory, moving beyond Robin Williams on a horse chasing after a dinosaur or Hugh Jackman punching robots with another robot.
As for matching themes, the movie is adapted from the Jonathan Tropper novel of the same name. With “This Is Where I Leave You” and “Once Last Thing Before I Go,” Tropper seems to be an author fascinated with families finding their footing again and imparting wisdom before parting ways. I’m looking forward to his new novel “It Was Great Seeing You But, Really, I’ve Gotta Run.”
Naturally the joy here is in the casting. So far the movie looks a bit boilerplate, like it could be called How Bateman Got His Groove Back, so hopefully it offers some surprises or, at the very least, some solid ensemble work.