Monday, May 12, 2014

Book 50: This is Where I Leave You

I noticed one complaint about this novel on Goodreads was the fact that it seemed like reading a novel that was meant to be a movie.  Unfortunately I can't speak to that; given that it has already been optioned as a movie, I couldn't help but see Jason Bateman as the narrator, Judd, and could of course picture how various scenes would play out in the film.  However, I don't know if I would have had those same views if I had read this before I knew it was being made into a movie.
After their father dies, the four siblings of the Foxman family come together for the funeral and to sit shiva for seven days.  The family does not see each other often, and Judd does not feel hopeful about the idea of them spending seven days together straight since his brother Paul is still mad at him from an incident in high school, and the family just has a tendency to combust when in close quarters.  Philip is the pampered baby brother screw up, and Wendy is the oldest sister, married to a man that barely gets off the phone since he's always working on important financial deals.  Judd's in the process of getting a divorce after finding his wife in flagrante with his boss, a shock talk show host.
The novel is entertaining, though it mostly goes how one would expect.  The family clashes, ridiculous things occur, Judd tries to deal with his failed marriage and current unemployment, and there are flirtations with former classmates and flames.  There are the usual discoveries about each other, family and the past.  Basically, it really is the perfect set up for a movie.  It was a quick read, and I definitely want to check out more of Tropper's work.  I could have done with a little less obsessing about sex from Judd but the guy's been cuckolded so it's somewhat understandable.
I'm curious to see the movie and how it all comes together.  I saw that Adam Driver is cast as Philip Foxman, and since I've never seen Girls or any of his work I can't really say if this is a good fit, but based simply on pictures, I hope he loses the goatee.  With the facial hair he strikes me as kind of sleazy, and while Philip messes up all the time, he is also portrayed as someone that is a girl magnet that everyone wants to help redeem himself - there's a fine line between screw up and sleazy scumbag, basically.  I saw that Malin Akerman was at one point cast in the film, and while this is no longer the case, I could absolutely see her as Judd's perfect, gorgeous wife - I'd say seeing her in Trophy Wife has really helped cement that, even though that character is just sweet and goofy - mostly, I think she just has the physical comedy aspect that this role could require down as well as the right personality so that the viewer could understand her appeal to Judd.  Judd just feels like the quintessential Bateman character, overwhelmed, straightman, crazy family.  So while I don't think this is going to be an award winning film, it could definitely be entertaining, or could just as easily run the risk of becoming a cliche.  Given the caliber of the cast, I'm hoping for the former.

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