When you see the names of Tina Fey and Jason Bateman in the cast, you have already prepared yourself to see a comedy. If the names of these stars aren't enough, you have Shawn Levy as the director. To help you recall, remember "The Internship" where Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson struggle in Googleplex. Sometimes, all the names associated with comedy may be misleading, and you end up with a drama that makes you chuckle at times. A drama is not bad if you have prepped yourself in the first place.
This movie is an adaptation of the novel by the same name by Jonathan Tropper. I haven't read the book. But if I had known it was an adaptation, then I would not have assumed this would be a comedy. The story deals with a dysfunctional family who comes together to mourn the death of the patriarch. After the death of her husband, Hillary Altman(Jane Fonda) brings her children under her roof to sit shiva. Paul (Corey Stroll), Wendy(Tina Fey), Judd(Jason Bateman) and Phillip(Adam Driver) are here children. For simplicity, Shiva is a Jewish custom where the family sits together for seven days for mourning. To make matters worse, all the Altman kids are going through difficult time.
As you can see, the stage is set for comedy. But the movie explores the human side of coping with issues ranging from love to anger. None of the people is happy. All of them find happiness eventually. They make us chuckle in the process. But at the end of the day, is the movie any different from the countless movies of dysfunctional families we have seen already? The answer is no. There is nothing novel or memorable here although the director tries in vain to entertain and shock us. When you have finished watching the movie, a question lingers in your mind. What would have happened if this was a movie featuring a different set of actors? A set of players who regularly features in dramas. Would I have liked it better?