This is Where I Leave You – Shawn Levy

this is where

This is Where I Leave You starring Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, and Jane Fonda.

A fairly typical story of a dysfunctional family brought together by a family tragedy, This is Where I Leave You combines quality acting with a mix of giggle-worthy humour and drama. The movie begins with Judd Altman (Jason Bateman) having a really, really bad day when he learns that his wife is cheating on him with his boss and that his father has died. The old man’s dying wish, according to Judd’s mother (the age-defying Jane Fonda), was for the family to “sit shiva” according to Jewish custom. This provides the basis for the big family reunion and the reason for having to spend every day for the next seven days together in the family room. Although the reason for the reunion is religion-based, the family is not at all religious and that is where some of the fun comes in – “Mom, you’re sitting in the exact same spot we put our Christmas tree…”

The family also consists of Judd’s three other siblings and their significant (or insignificant) others: older brother Paul (Corey Stoll) and his wife Annie (Kathryn Hahn), little brother Phillip (Adam Driver) and his new girlfriend (Connie Britton), and finally his sister Wendy (Tina Fey) and her mostly absent husband. Coming from a relatively small town, there are a number of close family friends who play a part in the madness that ensues, complete with colourful language and themes which aren’t completely family-friendly. Other supporting actors include Timothy Olyphant, Rose Byrne, Ben Schwartz, Dax Shepard, and Abigail Spencer. Shawn Levy as the Director (Real Steel, Night at the Museum, Date Night, The Internship) brings all of these talented actors and comedians together in perfect balance and handles the dysfunctional family clichés well in order to make the movie unique enough for tougher audiences.

This is Where I Leave You isn’t too long (103 minutes) and amidst the giggles, even has a few moments that genuinely tug at the heart strings. The majority of the laughs come, expectantly, from the exchanges between Bateman’s and Fey’s characters, and overall, the family dynamic is pretty believable compared to other family-based dramedies. It isn’t completely unlike The Family Stone in this way. It is a fairly light movie with a good ending that will leave most people happy that they saw it, in genuine awe of Jane Fonda’s overall appearance (the woman is in better shape than most 25 year olds), and maybe wishing they had a larger, funnier family.

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Horrible Bosses 2 – Sean Anders

Horrible Bosses 2 starring Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day, and Jennifer Aniston.

Horrible Bosses 2 starring Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day, and Jennifer Aniston.

There is no denying that Horrible Bosses 2 is a funny movie. You could put Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, and Charlie Day in a room with a camera and it would be a funny movie (evidence: bloopers). This one takes a little longer to provide the real laughs, but once they come they keep on rolling through until the end. Charlie Day, as the naïve and sometimes moronic hygienist (Dale) who was sexually abused by his boss in the last movie, and Jason Sudeikis (Kurt) are at the center of most of the comedy while Jason Bateman (Nick) is the grounded one and the only voice of reason in the group.

In the time between Horrible Bosses and this new movieNick, Dale, and Kurt have gone into business for themselves and have a product that they are eager to sell. When a large investor reneges on his promise of a large order, they hatch an elaborate kidnapping plan to come up with enough money to save their business. As expected, the movie gets more and more ridiculous as the storyline progresses but it is still fun to watch, especially when things (predictably) start to go downhill. There are a couple key scenes that are absolutely hilarious but the rest is pretty standard and what we would typically expect from these actors.

The return co-stars are Jennifer Aniston as the sex-addicted dentist, Kevin Spacey as the ex-boss who went to prison at the end of the first movie, and Jamie Foxx as Motherf*cker Jones. Jennifer Aniston, known as the wholesome girl-next-door, once again is so crude and her dialogue is so sexually charged that it is still fun to see her so out of place in the role. Unfortunately Kevin Spacey only has a small role this time around, but he definitely stands out. Newcomers Chris Pine and Christoph Waltz add another dimension to the story and play the two characters who shape the main plot of the movie. The two, however, are not as amusing to watch as Colin Ferrell was in Horrible Bosses. Comparing the two movies, the first one was probably the funnier of the two because of its originality and better characters; but on its own, Horrible Bosses 2 is still a satisfying comedy.

An audience that enjoys colourful profanity, sexual innuendo, quick and ridiculous dialogue, and equally ridiculous situations that wouldn’t be out of place in The Three Stooges, then Horrible Bosses 2 will be a blast. If that sort of light comedy isn’t quite what you’re looking for, then don’t bother, you will only be disappointed.