Jason Bateman

This Is Where I Leave You

Editor’s note: This review was originally published on September 7, 2014 as part of our TIFF 2014 coverage. We know Judd Altman. He’s the guy in the movie that looks and acts like he has it all figured out, but who’s about to find out – quite suddenly, in fact, and by way of some sort of dramatic event that would never happen quite that way in real life – that nothing is actually as it seems. We know Judd Altman. We’ve seen Judd Altman plenty of times before. But is there anything new to this particular Judd Altman? Based on Jonathan Tropper’s novel of the same name, Shawn Levy’s This Is Where I Leave You explores what happens to Judd (Jason Bateman) after the rug is pulled, spectacularly and swiftly, out from underneath him. But Levy’s overstuffed and unfocused feature is unable to give Judd the attention he deserves – or, at least the attention necessary to really engage us in his plight – and is instead stuck telling stories about all the Altmans as they handle tragedy (big and small) together. When we first meet Judd, he’s just about to discover that his wife Quinn (Abigail Spencer) is cheating on him with his sleazeball boss, and has been for quite some time. Wade Beaufort (Dax Shepard) is a shock jock deejay (his show, which is also technically Judd’s show, is called “Man Up,” and it involves him yelling a lot about what things men should do, which apparently […]

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The Longest Week

Looking at Jason Bateman‘s filmography over the past five years, there’s a mix of comedies, ranging in quality and style, but he plays an everyman in just about all of them. It seems as if he hit his stride with Arrested Development, and he’s been cast as the non-threatening, generally handsome but relatable, nice guy about to boil over ever since. It’s a role in which Bateman definitely excels, often bringing subtleties to each similar-feeling character. That isn’t the case in The Longest Week. Bateman stars in Peter Glanz‘s film as Conrad Valmont, an adult child whose affluent, loveless upbringing has turned him into a self-obsessed, womanizing pseudo-intellectual. When he’s kicked out of his family’s Manhattan Hotel, he’s forced to stay with his only friend, Dylan (Billy Crudup), who’s similarly full of himself but more addicted to monogamy. The two have competed through the entirety of their friendship, and now they’re fighting over the affections of Beatrice (Olivia Wilde), a model who enters their lives in standard rom-com stride.

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This Is Where I Leave You Movie

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:

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The Change-Up

Many people don’t realize this because The Change-Up was something of a flop upon its release in 2011, but the Ryan Reynolds/Jason Bateman body swap movie has actually developed an intense cult following since it was released for home viewers. There’s something about the idea of a parent switching lives — even only for a few days — with a single, good looking childless guy that really struck a nerve in the parenting community. The movie added another $20M in home market sales and those DVDs and Blu Rays have been circulating from one family to another for nearly three years. It is, after all, one of the rare R-rated body swap movies, and it is at times filthy in the purest Apatowian sense. Capitalizing on the success of the movie in the home market, Universal finally released a Special Edition Blu Ray complete with director’s commentary last month, so for the first time, we’re finally learning about some of the behind-the-scenes drama on the film. Here’s the 25 coolest things we found out from the commentary track, which featured stars Jason Bateman, Leslie Mann, Ryan Reynolds, and director David Dobkin.

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Jason Bateman in Bad Words

Bad Words is a really dark comedy. Its lead, Guy (Jason Bateman), is crude and selfish, and he won’t stop until he proves his point. Sometimes he goes about his plan in mean-spirited ways, but for Bateman it’s pivotal that an audience embraces the character. That’s not as difficult as it sounds. He makes the National Spelling Bee contest actual fun, so you’re already on his side from the start. Not only is Guy likable despite his edges, but he’s also empathetic. Andrew Dodge‘s script gives him the right kind of motive that never interrupts the film’s initial comedic tone. There’s just enough of Guy’s past and his twisted and sweet friendship with a kid, never too much of it to make him an unbelievable softie. There’s plenty of tonal tightropes in this movie, but Bateman, who was also in the director’s seat for the movie, was well-aware of them from the start. I spoke to Bateman at SXSW this week, and this is what he had to say about his anti-hero character, directing for the first time and more:

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Kathryn Hahn in Bad Words

Cinema has no shortage of great sex scenes. Just last week we saw a prime example of steamy hate sex from 300: Rise of an Empire. Eva Green’s snarling dominance over a soldier will never be forgotten. It’s up there with some of the finest sexual encounters in history: Kevin Costner going at it while driving in Revenge; Mulholland Drive‘s much talked about piece of lovemaking; the opening shot of Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead; and the orgy in Eyes Wide Shut. Someone all those scenes were seriously lacking: Kathryn Hahn. If Kubrick wanted to turn the heat up during that orgy, then he would’ve thrown Hahn into the mix. She’s proven herself as more than capable when it comes to making sex much funnier and even more awkward. Who could forget when Alice (Hahn) rode Dan (John C. Reilly) like an animal in Step Brothers? If that didn’t do it for you, then Alice’s “stay golden, pony boy” goodbye sure did. We discussed Hahn’s finer moments of acting at the Bad Words press day during SXSW. Here’s what she had to say about how awkward sex makes her career come full circle.

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badwords

Once an actor stars in something that’s widely loved enough among Internet circles to be considered as having “geek cred,” they earn quite a bit of leeway when it comes to judgment over whatever lame projects that they might do afterward. We’ve seen this phenomenon take place when everyone was willing to sit through six seasons of Castle without doing much complaining, just because of how much they loved Nathan Fillion in Firefly. We’ve seen it when people have actually been willing to buy tickets to go see Donald Glover rap. There’s perhaps been no bigger example of someone being handed a nerd cred get out of jail free card in the history of modern entertainment than Jason Bateman coming off of starring in Arrested Development though. AD was basically like nerd catnip—it was funny, it was weird, it was underappreciated, it was intricately self-referential—and after Bateman’s turn as the series’ awkward straight man, Michael Bluth, he suddenly found himself anointed as the new comedy geek Jesus, after experiencing a period where he was being looked at as something of a has-been—an answer to an 80s pop culture trivia question. Unfortunately for everyone though, Bateman’s career since AD was cancelled has also become basically the most egregious example of someone pushing that nerd cred leeway past its breaking point that we’ve ever seen, to the point where his face showing up in a movie trailer has now become the sort of thing that forces former fans to unconsciously let out […]

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Arrested Development George-Michael

Resurrected like a dead dove by Netflix, there’s no doubt that Arrested Development 4.0 is a beast made specifically for the internet. It’s no longer bound by commercial breaks (only answering to the internal metrics for how the streaming service defines commercial success) or the act structure and 22-minute length traditional TV entails. With the same bulk-drop mentality that Netflix started with House of Cards (which gets its own AD shout out), viewers can choose whether they want to watch one episode per week, a handful at a time, or all in one sitting. These are the two major structural differences that streaming provides, but there’s also the instantaneousness of social media that was largely missing when the show originally ran on FOX between 2003 and February 2006, ending its third season almost exactly a month before Twitter launched. It’s also not hard to imagine that it was the internet that brought the show back. With fan pages dedicated to connecting all of its dots and collecting all the quotes, the cult aspect of AD flourished on message boards and in memes alike, and its popularity within Netflix’s own walls must have been an enticement to push for a fourth season. All of that makes it feel a bit like the show once dubbed “too smart” for TV was an orphaned child who’s found the home she was always meant to live in. But like all families, there’s a bit of disfunction. The original run of the show was marked by clever turns of […]

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review disconnect

Discourse on the growing disconnect between us due to the overwhelming presence of technology in our daily lives is nothing new. How many friends we have on Facebook becomes more important than how our real friends are doing. We fall in love with online confidants whom we’ve never even met in real life. Cell phones are omnipresent at dinner tables and movie theaters or even behind the wheel of a moving car. It seems the more connected we are with our online, virtual or electronic personas the less necessary our real ones become. Disconnect takes an intimate, sad and occasionally heartbreaking look at the phenomenon through multiple stories woven together into a whole. The immediate comparison most people will make is to Crash (much like I did in this review’s title), but that’s only because that film is the most high profile and recent example of this kind of shifting narrative. I include that disclaimer because most folks hate the ever loving hell out of Crash, and it would be a shame to imply the level of quality and sincerity on display between them is comparable. The three main stories spill into each other and outward to form additional smaller stories, but they almost all work to make their point with an honesty humanity towards their characters. It’s sometimes too honest in fact as the film can occasionally feel overly bleak and uncompromising even at its most hopeful. It’s almost enough to make a person want to go off the […]

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Disconnect

Considering that you’re reading this article on the Internet right now, it doesn’t seem likely that you’re afraid of the world wide web but, if documentary director Henry Alex Rubin‘s feature debut has anything to say about that, you soon will be. In Rubin’s Disconnect, the technological world is a nefarious one, swarming with bad people trying to do bad things. Some people just like playing Bejeweled and reading Gawker on the interwebs but, sure, there are plenty of people to be feared just a chat window away. The film is also one of those interconnected affairs, tracking a a group of people who are all loosely linked via their Internet activities – Jason Bateman‘s kid is being catfished by Frank Grillo‘s kid, while Grillo’s cop character is helping out a couple (Alexander Skarsgard and Paula Patton) who appear to have had their identities stolen online and so on and so forth. If something bad can happen to you on the Internet, it looks like Disconnect will address it in one of the film’s many plotlines. Unplug now! If you’re still Interneting about, check out the trailer for Disconnect after the break.

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Sandra Bullock

What is Casting Couch? It’s the casting news compilation that has word of a new action movie starring the Muscles From Brussels himself, JCVD. Buckle up. It seems like there’s always been a segment of the filmgoing audience that has something against Sandra Bullock. Maybe that’s because she teased everybody by starring in Demolition Man and Speed in the early ’90s and then went on to make a bunch of lame romantic comedies where she tries too hard to be goofy instead of doing more action stuff. Whatever the reason, she might finally be able to channel those bad tidings and use it in her next job, because Deadline Hollywood is reporting that the usually sugary-sweet actress is going to be voicing the new villain in the upcoming Despicable Me spinoff, Minions. As you may have guessed, she’ll be playing an evil lady who has her life ruined by her little, yellow, inept minions. This time it’s okay to hate, go ahead.

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Identity Thief Movie

Despite being panned by critics (including here), Identity Thief scored big at the box office and with fans. Seth Gordon‘s comedy starring Melissa McCarthy and Jason Bateman earned $36.6m through the weekend against limited competition. The only other wide release was Steven Soderbergh’s final film (until we coax him out of retirement), Side Effects, which was in 500 fewer theaters and scored $10m. Warm Bodies dropped to the #2 spot with $11.5m, only $1.9m worth of people wanted to see Top Gun re-released in 3D, and the Oscar-nominated The Gatekeepers won the highest per theater average this weekend with over $14k in 3 theaters. Identity Thief has a production budget listed as $35m, so the numbers here are solid and point it directly toward never-ending syndication on TBS. It’s probably not surprising, but the number one movie also earned a massive disparity between critics and audiences, so it’ll be interesting to see if it can maintain its good will going into next weekend where only Die Hard, A Good Day to and a few indies led by the titanic Nicholas Sparks’ Romance Train await crowds looking for something to do between inhaling heart-shaped boxes of chocolates. For those who enjoyed Identity Thief, screenwriter Craig Mazin recently spoke about it on Broken Projector, and he’ll be back on the show this Friday to go through four pages of the script from conception to production. Plus, Gordon spoke with us about aiming to please audiences, something that the director seems to have pulled off here. [Box Office Mojo]

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Seth Gordon

Director Seth Gordon made a big splash in 2007 with The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters. Since its release he has made three more features, Four Christmases, Horrible Bosses, and Identity Thief. An obvious tie between all these films, as well as the Academy Award-winning doc he produced, Undefeated, is a crowd-pleasing quality. Gordon wants to appeal to anyone he can with his studio comedies, and with his newest movie, Identity Thief, he faced his greatest challenge in doing so. Anyone can jump onboard with the wish-fulfillment of killing their boss, but can millions of people do the same for a criminal who ruins people’s lives? As long as that criminal is Melissa McCarthy, as Gordon tells us, they can.

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Identity Thief

Identity Thief has more than a few good things going for it: it boasts a funny and talented cast, it features some amusing comedic chemistry between its two leads, and it has a plot that’s both rooted in the real world and ripe for some amusing and wacky cinematic hijinks. And yet, Seth Gordon‘s latest squanders every bit of promise it has to its name, with the final product ringing up as a mostly laughless, morally questionable, and wholly unoriginal pile of boring trash. The film is purely formulaic – the sort of comedy where you can see every beat (especially the “emotional” ones) from a mile way and nothing is capable of surprise. To be sure, there are “shocking” moments – sequences of violence, poorly considered sexual escapades, and even one hell of a car accident – but none of that jolts because it’s sharp or smart or interesting, it’s all sort of stagey, like the comedic version of a horror film jump scare. What’s most grating about Identity Thief is that it’s such a tremendous waste of time for everyone involved – from stars Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy to the very audience paying to watch it. Save your money. Keep your credit cards in your pocket. Stay home.

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Identity Thief

Given the fact that Identity Thief stars Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy, it wasn’t all that much of a surprise that its first trailer was full of laughs. But what kind of came out of nowhere was how many cars got crashed in it and how much serious physical trauma Bateman and McCarthy endured during just two minutes of footage. It got to the point where it started to look like they were starring in an action movie. The second trailer that just got released for the film doesn’t do anything to contradict that notion either. As a matter of fact, it gives us another scene where McCarthy gets hit by a car, and one where she gets her head smacked against a passenger seat window; and that’s in addition to the part where Bateman hits her with an acoustic guitar. Is it possible that this year’s rekindling of the Three Stooges franchise was so inspiring to people that it’s going to usher in a full-on slapstick revival in comedy?

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Nicolas Cage

What is Casting Couch? It’s your Monday look at all of the great work casting agents and PR people did over the weekend to keep those Hollywood gears turning. UPDATED: We dreamed too soon, kids. It seems like Sylvester Stallone is fully committed to his experiment of figuring out how many big name celebrities have to be packed into an Expendables movie before one of them actually becomes interesting. The latest news regarding his quest (found on Stallone’s Facebook page by JoBlo) is that Nicolas Cage has been confirmed for a role in The Expendables 3, and that Harrison Ford, Wesley Snipes, and Mickey Rourke are the names he intends on recruiting next. You keep on trucking there, Mr. Stallone. With the addition of just five or ten more celebrities, The Expendables 3 is bound to be the one that finally gets out of first gear and actually becomes a decent action movie. We have faith!

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Identify Thief Movie

Skipping all the nonsense of Face/Off, Melissa McCarthy becomes Jason Bateman in Identity Thief with a far simpler method: she steals his credit card information. Why didn’t John Woo think of that? From Seth Gordon (King of Kong, Horrible Bosses), the movie focuses on a man named Sandy who confronts the Florida woman who steals his identity and lives large on his dime. The trailer looks absolutely hilarious, giving just a hint at the raw craziness that the movie embraces. Check it out for yourself:

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Author Jonathan Tropper’s 2009 novel, “This is Where I Leave You,” is all set to become a feature film over at Warner Bros., and the production is getting the cast to prove it. The book, which details a down-on-his-luck man’s week of insanity as he’s forced to live in the same house with his estranged mother and siblings for seven days, has been adapted into a screenplay by Tropper himself, and is set to be directed by Rock of Ages director Adam Shankman. The main character, Judd, has a wife who has just cheated on him with his boss, a boss who has just slept with his wife, a mother who has just lost a husband, and three neurotic siblings that he must spend a week with, due to his dying father’s last request. Needless to say, this one is going to be an ensemble piece, and Shankman has just kicked the casting process off with a bang. Deadline New Rochelle reports that Jason Bateman has signed on to play the lead role, Zac Efron and Leslie Mann have come on as two of his siblings, and Goldie Hawn is set to act for the first time since 2002’s girl power dramedy The Banger Sisters as the family’s matriarch. If you’re keeping track, that means that there’s still one sibling, a wife, and a boss that’s left to be cast, so before everything is all said and done this movie could become even more star-studded.

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Rapper T.I. Joins Identity Theft

Director Seth Gordon‘s latest comedic venture already has some great talent attached to it – Melissa McCarthy will star in the film, Identity Theft, in a role tailor-made for her: as a character who steals Jason Bateman‘s identity. But as amusing as it might be to just see those two duke it out for ninety minutes, every film needs supporting characters, and Gordon has just lined up an unexpected pick for one of those roles. Did you know that rapper T.I. (he of such notable hits as “Bring Em Out,” “Big Shit Poppin’ (Do It),” “Sleazy Remix 2.0: Get Sleazier,” “Murda Bizness,” and “Swing Ya Rag”) also acts? He does! Apparently he’s looking to diversify his portfolio after getting out of jail for those federal weapons charges! Yay! T.I. will reportedly play a bounty hunter in the film, one who hunts both McCarthy and Bateman after Bateman’s character “becomes an unlikely companion” to McCarthy (um, post-identity theft).

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Last August, during that first rush to pin down Bridesmaids stand-out Melissa McCarthy, we reported on a McCarthy-starring project that would pit her against Jason Bateman. The film was then titled ID Theft and was set to revolve around McCarthy’s character stealing Bateman’s character’s identity. Hijinks would, of course, ensue. The film has now gotten a slight title change and a not-wholly-unexpected director. Identity Theft will be directed by Seth Gordon, who has already directed Bateman to reasonable hilarity in Horrible Bosses. Written by The Pursuit of Happyness scribe Steve Conrad (with a rewrite by Craig Mazin), the project already has a bit of notoriety, as Bateman (who is also producing) reportedly asked that the film’s script be tweaked to see a man and a woman face off (it was previously a dueling dude affair) after being bowled over by McCarthy’s performance in Bridesmaids. Gordon’s name has already been bandied about for the Horrible Bosses sequel and he’s currently set to direct that bizarrely inevitable War Games remake. [Deadline Plainfield]  

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