Judd Altman (Jason Bateman) has a great job, apartment and beautiful wife (Abigail Spencer), when all of this goes South he hits a low point, which is when he gets news his father has passed away.
Returning to his home town, the whole Altman family assemble for the funeral under the watchful eye of family matriarch Hillary (Jane Fonda), with recently augmented breasts. At their mothers insistence, the family must stay together to honour “Shiva” the Jewish practice of staying in the same house together for seven days, as a mark of respect when a first degree relative dies.
This might be difficult for most families, this one puts the “D” in dysfunctional, which provides a rich seam of drama and humour.
The film does not bring anything particularly new, as we have been here many times before but director Shawn Levy has assembled a great cast who do not disappoint.
Judd’s sister Wendy (Tina Fey) married with a couple of ankle biters and a husband surgically attached to his work phone. Solid, dependable stay in the town and help run the business brother Paul (Corey Stoll), married with a wife desperate for a baby and finally Phillip, (Adam Driver), who is none of the above.
The scene is set for many revelations, home truths, humour and heartbreak.
Bateman proves yet again that he can act, Fey has comic timing to spare, Fonda does what she does best and Stoll does well in the less showy role. Driver arguably gets the most fun, chewing the scenery and bringing personality to spare, free wheeling, free loving and always ready to say the wrong thing, at precisely the right moment.
The film is relatively slight but makes it’s points and gets out whilst ahead, the story also includes the almost de riguer pretty ex girlfriend, still living in town and doing well. Not attached despite being the prettiest thing around (Rose Byrne) and just waiting for her ex boyfriend to drop in.
The theme of the movie is life is messy but will all work out in the end. If this sentiment appeals, then you are in the right place.
Good undemanding fun with an excellent cast, good laughs and a bit of pathos thrown in.
A pleasurable and overall enjoyable film, not Oscar material but certainly better than you might expect