Review – JEFF WHO LIVES AT HOME

by Laurie Coker  B-

Having relied on our intern Riley for driving and carrying my stuff all week at SXSW (what with my neck fusion), I found myself in a position to venture away from the SXSW scene for a screening (much closer to home) of Jason Segel and Ed Helms’ new film ‘Jeff Who Lives at Home,’ also starring Judy Greer and Susan Sarandon, and I am glad I did. Directing and writing brothers Jay and Mark Duplass have created yet another character driven tale that pleases on a variety of levels.

Thirty-ish Jeff (Segel) as the title states, lives at home, in his mother’s (Sarandon) basement, basically doing nothing but hitting the bong, while his brother Pat (Helms) tries to live a normal life, with his wife (Greer). Jeff’s favorite movie being ‘Signs,’ believing he himself is encountering “signs,” follows a chain of events that has his family seeing things through a different lens, and which ultimately brings them together in a way none of them expect. It is a simple, heart-felt and subtly humorous story and I truly enjoyed it.

While some aspects are similar to their previous roles, I really feel like the Duplass brothers pulled out the best in each of their comedic leads. Segel and Helms both stay true to the comedy in their bloods, but offer nicely defined versions of brothers who are at odds because of inherent differences in personalities and desires. Sarandon and Greer have far smaller roles, but they are key to the links that have the brothers on a journey of self discovery and bonding.

Ultimately, the story is adorable, sweet, at times wholly far-fetched and for me almost completely engaging. I say almost because truthfully, there are a few slow moments, but none that dragged too much. Ray Dawn Chong makes an appearance as part of a unique twist with the men’s mom, and I have to say her subplot does offer a surprising storyline, but all leads to the same place, and I liked the journey

I am a huge fan of the Duplass brothers and this is one of my favorites. It might not have the same audience appeal as other Segel and Helms films, but that will be a shame, if I am right. I am placing a B in my grade book. It offers an enjoyable little character driven tale that works in the end as a feel-good film.  I recommend this feature to who anyone who has lived too long at home, those who have not, and parents young and old.

 

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