A close friend advised me to see this movie, which he thought was the best picture he had seen so far this year. We agree over 90% of the time on movies, so I was expecting a real gem. He said it was very funny and so emotionally compelling that at times he was moved to tears. Another close friend had seen it, too, and liked it, but thought “there was something off about it.” The film is based on the novel of the same name by Jonathan Tropper, which I haven’t read.
If you are into “pseudo-depth,” then this movie is an all time classic! The father of a dysfunctional family has died, and the widow (Jane Fonda-Hillary Altman) informs the Altman children that their non-religious father’s dying wish was that the family sit Shiva for the full 7 days.
The children (Jason Bateman-Judd; Tina Fey-Wendy; Adam Driver-Phillip; Corey Still-Paul), along with 2 spouses, comply with this demand. Needless to say, they all bring their unresolved conflicts with their parents, each other, and their mates with them.
Just before the funeral, Judd comes home from work early to surprise his wife (Abigail Spencer-Quinn) on her birthday, and finds her in bed with his boss. He goes to the funeral really freaked out, but, after a few days, finds solace in the arms of the very pretty Penny Moore (Rose Byrne). She was a friend of his while he was growing up, but she never left their home town.
This seems like a promising set up, but some scenes were so over-the-top and unbelievable that it turned me off. There are some funny lines but not enough to salvage it. Most of the serious scenes didn’t ring true, although there were a few exceptions. The only time I was moved to tears was when reflected that I had wasted my money seeing it!
I saw it with a super-smart 20 year old and he had essentially the same take I did.
Rating-7.0- Just barely good enough to rent