This Is Where I Leave You (2014)

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Original Theatrical Release Date: September 19, 2014
Director: Shawn Levy

The Altman family siblings; Judd (Jason Bateman), Wendy (Tina Fey), Phillip (Adam Driver), and Paul (Corey Stoll) – are summoned by their mother, Hillary (Jane Fonda), to sit in mourning together for a week in a traditional Jewish practice called Shiva (which literally means ‘Seven’ in Hebrew) at their father’s dying request. This, despite their father being an atheist, brings them all together under one roof and into contact with people from their collective pasts. What ensues is loads of family antics.

I saw this film in the theater with my own siblings. It wasn’t really on my list of movies to see, but it turned out to be an okay film and I’m glad I went with my own brother and sister to see it because it really gave some nods to the sibling dynamics that we’ve all experienced.

Most of the movie has some decent moments but overall, there wasn’t much substance to grasp onto or to really sink your teeth into. It felt almost more like an episode of a long-running television show than it did a feature film. I think what really saved this was the comedian actors and actresses who headlined this movie – especially Tina Fey and Jason Bateman.

Is this a bad film? Not by any means. It just didn’t pack much punch. It wasn’t especially funny, nor especially deep or poignant. There are definitely enough laughs to merit at least one watch-through and I’m sure there are some people out there who will genuinely connect with the film more than I did. For me, it just didn’t go anywhere new. We’ve seen this movie before in multiple incarnations.

JOE Rating: ★★★

Movie Trailer For This Is Where I Leave You

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Date Movie (2006)

Date Movie (2006)

Original Theatrical Release: February 17, 2006
Director: Aaron Seltzer, Jason Friedberg

Julia Jones (Alyson Hannigan) is feeling like she will never find someone. Her multi-ethnic parents (Eddie Griffin and Meera Simhan) want her to marry Nicky (Judah Friedlander) but Julia doesn’t want to resort to being with someone she doesn’t love. In comes the dashing Grant Funkyerdoder (Adam Campbell) and she feels like she has met the man of her dreams, but first she has to overcome the schemes of his gorgeous best friend and former lover, Andy (Sophie Monk), who has never quite let him go.

These types of movies generally have been overdone. The first Scary Movie or two were great, but some others (Dance Movie) were just terrible. This is somewhere in between.

Next to Not Another Teen Movie, which I think is a lot better, the jokes in Date Movie generally work but most are considered too lowbrow to have any real staying power. There are some genuine laughs to be had, especially if you “get” this kind of humor (or maybe are a terrible person like I am). There’s a scene where Julia and Grant are out on a date and they “romantically” beat up a bum together and take what meager possessions he has. That’s the kind of stuff you’re going to find in this flick. However, some of the gags fall flat and don’t even live up to the original source material, much less surpass it.

They riff on films like Hitch, Napoleon Dynamite, Kill Bill and more…and that’s kind of where this movie fails. Not because they didn’t do a good job riffing on those films, but because it would have been more successful if they had just stuck to riffing on actual date movies like Hitch and Sleepless In Seattle. That’s why Not Another Teen Movie is so much better. They stuck with their premise.

Hate it. Love it. I think it’s okay, and not the worst thing I’ve ever seen. It’s worth watching just to see Judah Friedlander and Alyson Hannigan, for sure.

JOE Rating: ★★★

Movie Trailer For Date Movie