In Which Our Loving Romance Gets Arrested

White Flight


This Is Where I Leave You
dir. Shawn Levy
103 minutes

“Love causes cancer like everything else,” Wendy Altman (Tina Fey) explains during a very weird scene in Shawn Levy’s This Is Where I Leave You. “But it still has its moments.” Her brother Judd (Jason Bateman) gives her a squeeze as they sit on the roof of their house, the place where every white suburbanite worth his salt goes to think. Things are unexpectedly romantic between this brother and sister, but it is never consummated for obvious reasons – despite being married to a workaholic named Barry, the only man that Tina can attract in this movie is a mentally disabled neighbor.

You know, people gave Reese Witherspoon a lot of shit for pretending to save those Sudanese refugees, but at least there was a person of color peripherally involved in the story, while sexism and ageism never really came into play. This Is Where I Leave You is about as socially progressive as Birth of a Nation.

What is so rewarding about being a white man is that when your wife cheats on you with Dax Shepard, you meet another woman the next week. You get fired from your job, but who cares? You’re Caucasian, you’ll find another one.

that’s a weirdly intimate greeting for brother and sister, but I can’t look away

Jason Bateman’s constant portrayal of Michael Bluth in every one of his roles at first seemed like a moving tribute to the memory of Mitchell Hurwitz. Now his stuttering and constant clipped one-liners has tread on my last nerve. I can’t even look at George Michael anymore, and when I think about him in my mind, he is played by Jesse Eisenberg.

If not for Jane Fonda, This Is Where I Leave You would have been an unmitigated disaster. At one point she makes up her son’s bed in a revealing robe. It’s not exactly the attire you expect to see when someone’s husband dies, but it did the trick:

Get me that plastic surgeon’s number, I want him to do the big toe on my left foot.

Judd’s brothers are played by Corey Stoll and Adam Driver. The former plays a cranky man who runs a sporting goods store; the latter is constantly dropping bon mots like, “Guys, look how wacky I am? See?” “Even I think this is crazy, and I’m CRAZY!” The wackiest thing Driver does in This Is Where I Leave You is pursue a relationship with his therapist (Connie Britton). Oh, he also drives above the speed limit. What a quirky gentleman.

He cheats on her the day after his father’s funeral. She says, “I’m an enabler!” and takes off in her Mercedes.

You have to feel for Connie because she looks fantastic, kind of like what I hope Amy Schumer evolves into at some point, and yet the entire cast treats her like some ancient crone who came to suck Adam Driver’s life force/Star Wars royalties from his desiccated corpse.

The age difference between Britton and Adam Driver is really not that much larger than the age difference between Bateman and his love interest, Penny (Rose Byrne), but the two situations are treated in an entirely opposite way, for reasons. God this was fucking lame:

“Does our song have to be Cyndi Lauper?” Bateman whines. Like, fuck off dude, Cyndi Lauper accomplished more in one year that you did in your entire life.

I guess on some level I expected racism and sexism to disappear completely once everyone got on tumblr and these problems were exposed for what they were. I mean, I assumed we all shared common values: for example, that lying is bad, cheating is worse, cheating with Dax Shepard worse yet, and Chelsea Handler is a delightful young woman

In This Is Where I Leave You, it is like we have time travelled back to the 1950s. None of the children feel comfortable talking about wintercourse at all, despite the fact that their mother is the author of a sex manual for teens. This Is Where I Leave You is either dated or remarkably current depending on how disorienting you find it when Jane Fonda moves onto her next relationship while still sitting shiva for her dead husband.

in the right light, she looks like a savory pot roast

“None of us are happy,” Bateman moans at one point during this terrible movie, in a house that looks like it cost in the $750,000 range. Tina Fey explains the reason that Bateman is so unhappy – his life is too predictable – and then spends the following day ignoring her husband and child and sleeping with the mentally disabled Horry (Timothy Olyphant) who calls her ‘Sunflower.’

I’m either offended or jealous of the headband. No, I’m offended.

Clearly, Tina has not been reading any of the scripts she has selected beforehand. To be fair, IRL she is married to a man who resembles Samwise Gamgee, so she probably had a lot more important dilemmas on her mind, like “Did that hobbit eat all the cheerios again?” or “When is Gandalf getting here?” On the plus side, it is finally revealed where Tina got her facial scar: car accident.

Their house looks like a plantation.

In hindsight, the critical success of Arrested Development was the worst thing to happen to the entire cast. For one, Hurwitz made them all seem a lot more clever than they were. (Burn the negative of that final season on Netflix.)

Secondly, Arrested Development made people everywhere believe that the world was still interested in the problems of rich white Americans. If I could tell the people who made this piece of trash one thing, it is that I am only interested in media where white people are saving blacks, hispanics and Asians from natural disasters, terrorist attacks and the constant, everpresent allure of incest.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording.

“Transfer” – Junes (mp3)


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