Judd Altman was a radio show producer whose life began to unravel when he finds his wife sleeping with his boss. On top of that, his father had passed away, and his last request was for his family to shit shiva, a Jewish ritual. The events then bring together the Altman family: older brother Paul, whose wife used to be Judd’s girlfriend, his sister Wendy, whose dealing with her own marriage, and younger brother Phillip, a man who refuses to grow up. As the shiva proceeds, the story also brings in people from Judd’s past, as well as having the family deal with the baggage they’re all currently handling.
The casting director certainly did not waste time with a line up like this. Even the minor characters get played by amazing actors that it’s hard to think that this movie would screw up. The cast is this star studded cast whose careers you’ve followed from television to movies and you know they can do both comedy and drama. Yet, something in the movie was way off. It wanted to hit some emotional notes, and yet the delivery seems deadpan or it was just wrong, or it looked forced. For a great cast, there was some really bad acting involved that I can do a top 3 instances of bad acting right now.
But what probably hurt the film the most was the direction. Shawn Levy is known for his comedies, and this is his turn at dramedy. Both genres were a miss. It’s either the delivery was too late, or the reaction was not expressed well, or the actors didn’t understand the simple complexity of their character that they fail to read what their character was about. The whole production was some kind of a mess that you’d have to take them (acting, script, directing) apart to appreciate it, but when put together, they didn’t mix well.
There are plenty of elements that would work in the movie, but the execution itself failed to make it endearing and charming. Even the cinematography of the movie was wasted; you can't disguise a poorly made movie through a pretty picture. It had potential to be good, but it definitely needs some improvement.
Final Word: So much wasted talent. You'd think this would be endearing but it was all over the place. It wasn't as messy or horrid as other movies, but a disappointment just the same.
Cast: Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Jane Fonda
Director: Shawn Levy