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Shawn Levy
Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Jane Fonda, Adam Driver, Corey Stoll, Kathryn Hahn, Rose Byrne, Connie Britton, Timothy Olyphant
Writing Credits:
Jonathan Tropper

Welcome Home. Get Uncomfortable.

When their father passes away, four grown siblings 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.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$6,894,340 on 2,868 Screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated R

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Latin Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
Latin Spanish
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 103 min.
Price: $35.99
Release Date: 12/16/2014

• Audio Commentary with Director Shawn Levy and Writer Jonathan Tropper
• “Points of Departure” Featurettes
• “The Gospel According to Rabbi Boner” Featurette
• “A Discussion with Shawn Levy and Jonathan Tropper” Featurette
• Previews
• DVD Copy


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


This Is Where I Leave You [Blu-Ray] (2014)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 8, 2014)

After a career built on family-oriented hits like Cheaper By the Dozen and Night at the Museum, director Shawn Levy attempts something more “adult” with 2014’s This Is Where I Leave You. When New York radio show producer Judd Altman (Jason Bateman) returns to his apartment, he discovers his wife Quinn (Abigail Spencer) in the midst of a humpfest with his shock jock boss Wade (Dax Shepherd).

Matters don’t improve when Judd soon finds out that his father died. His sister Wendy (Tina Fey) conveys that their father wanted the family to sit shiva, which means that they will need to mourn together for a week.

Given the lackluster state of Altman clan relations, this seems like a bad idea, but those involved accede to their late father’s wishes. At the family home, Judd, Wendy, mother Hillary (Jane Fonda), brothers Phillip (Adam Driver) and Paul (Corey Stoll) and various partners gather for this event. We follow the events as the semi-estranged family members deal with each other and various issues.

Even though Leave represents a stylistic change of sorts for Levy, don’t expect a radical departure for the director. Indeed, that becomes the film’s biggest flaw, as it shows Levy’s reluctance to break from his past.

Rather than delve into actual family drama, Levy can’t resist the urge to have his cake and eat it, as they say. This means that whenever the movie threatens to get into actual drama, it tosses out gags to lighten the load.

Of course, the notion of humor to relieve dramatic tension isn’t anything new, but Leave doesn’t ever threaten to become especially serious. It dabbles in deeper moments but can’t embrace them in the manner it needs to succeed.

This means Leave plods along with its inconsistent and unconvincing sense of tone. It doesn’t help that this feels like a movie we’ve already seen many times. We get a little Big Chill and a little August: Osage County but nothing new or fresh. At times Leave feels more like a collection of inspirational sayings packed into a movie, without much depth to allow it to prosper.

Speaking of shallowness, Leave attempts way too many plot points for a single 103-minute movie. Really, only Judd’s story gets decent exploration, as the others pop up in bits and pieces. These don’t receive room to breathe and the movie barely bothers to explore them, so they remain flat and one-dimensional sideshows.

With a pretty strong cast, the actors had the goods to redeem this thin gruel, but they can’t quite do so. Not that I’d call any of them bad, though Fonda and Fey tend to overplay the comedic aspects of their roles. Still, all involved provide performances that seem competent at worst and fairly positive at best.

Unfortunately, the actors simply can’t overcome the inherent sappiness and lack of inspiration on display. Leave provides a predictable, one-note attempt at comedy/drama without much meat on its bones.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B-/ Bonus B-

This Is Where I Leave You appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a quality presentation.

Sharpness was fine. A handful of wider shots could be a little tentative, but those remained in the minority, as most of the flick appeared concise and accurate. Jagged edges and shimmering didn’t occur, and edge enhancement remained absent. Source flaws also failed to present any problems, as the movie offered a clean image.

In terms of colors, the film favored a mild golden tint or a blue feel. These were light overtones, so the colors were solid within the design parameters. Blacks seemed deep and tight, while shadows were good. I thought this was a consistently high-quality presentation.

As for the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, it seemed satisfactory. It favored the usual “comedy mix” and didn’t present many chances for the soundscape to explode. We This meant the track usually opted for stereo music and general environmental material. Though these didn’t seem exciting, they opened up the piece in a satisfying manner.

I thought audio quality appeared positive. Speech seemed distinctive and natural, with no rough tones or other issues. Score and songs displayed clear, warm music, and effects functioned well. Those elements were reasonably realistic and full throughout the movie. Again, nothing here dazzled, but the mix accentuated the action in a good way.

As we move to extras, we launch with an audio commentary from director Shawn Levy and writer Jonathan Tropper. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific look at Tropper’s novel and its adaptation, story/character areas, cast and performances, sets and locations, music, and other subjects.

I once referred to Levy as “eternally chipper”, and that remains true here. Levy’s perkiness means we get a fair amount of happy talk, and Tropper’s presence does nothing to alter that trajectory. Nonetheless, Levy always provides engaging, lively chats, so we learn a fair amount about the movie here despite the tendency toward excessive praise.

Under Points of Departure, we locate four featurettes: “The Brother-Sister Bond” (5:38), “The Matriarch” (3:59), “Sibling Rivals” (5:04) and “Choreographed Chaos” (5:38). Across these, we hear from Levy, Tropper, producer Paula Weinstein, and actors Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Kathryn Hahn, Jane Fonda, Corey Stoll, Ben Schwartz, Adam Driver and Timothy Olyphant. The programs cover story and characters, cast and performances, and Levy’s impact on the production. A handful of decent insights emerge, but the programs mostly lavish praise on all involved.

Next comes the six-minute, 27-second The Gospel According to Rabbi Boner. In it, we hear from Schwartz, Fey, Hahn and Tropper. “Gospel” looks at aspects of Schwartz’s character and performance. With some good outtakes, this becomes a better than expected show.

A Discussion with Shawn Levy and Jonathan Tropper takes up four minutes, 28 seconds and gives their thoughts about the movie’s path to the screen as well as story/adaptation areas. We learn nothing here not already covered in the commentary.

Six Deleted Scenes occupy a total of 13 minutes, 34 seconds. Except for one that focuses on Paul, these pieces concentrate on Judd, which surprises me since he receives so much screen time in the final cut; usually cut sequences highlight supporting roles. Some mildly interesting snippets emerge but not much that adds to the story.

The disc opens with ads for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies and Annabelle. No trailer for Leave appears here.

A second disc delivers a DVD copy of Leave. It includes the “Gospel” featurette but lacks the other extras.

With a terrific cast, This Is Where I Leave You came with potential to be a strong comedy/drama. Unfortunately, it panders too much and never commits to anything, factors that force it to become simplistic and predictable. The Blu-ray provides good picture and audio along with a reasonable set of supplements. Even with a lot of talent behind it, Leave can’t rise above its own triteness.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
View Averages for all rated titles.

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