Jeff, Who Lives At Home

Jeff (Jason Segel) is an unemployed slacker who still lives in the basement of his Mum’s house (hence the title Jeff, Who Lives At Home). He believes in the interconnectedness of everything in the universe and that everything happens for a reason, mostly because of the film Signs. After a phone call from a wrong number with a person asking for ‘Kevin’, Jeff is lead on a journey throughout the day travelling from one significant event to another, driven by his obsession to find out what this call meant and where it is destined to lead him. It can’t have been a coincidence, can it? On the way he meets his brother Pat (Ed Helms) who starts out on his own quest to find out if his wife (Judy Greer) is cheating on him after they both see her out with another man. What follows is a whimsical, smart, and sometimes very funny story as the two brothers follow the ‘signs’, and as they try to discover if Jeff’s theory about destiny is true.

The idea of this film taking place in one day is clever, although it might frustrate people looking for something more than a light-hearted look at fate and the interconnectedness of everything. The real charm of the film lies in the chemistry between Jason Segel and Ed Helms. They work well together and both bring the laughs as the feuding brothers. Segel is the main standout, looking and sounding completely different than he did in The Muppets (and looking like he’s eaten some of the Muppets) – he’s sluggish and slackerish while still having a sense of childish hope in everything he does. Ed Helms is great too as Pat – outlandishly blokeish at times (like when he’s driving his flashy new car) but also vulnerable and hurt as he becomes desperate to uncover the truth about his wife’s potential affair.

Susan Sarandon is also great as the brother’s mother who is also trying to discover if there is more to life when she finds out she has a secret admirer at work. One problem with the film though is that the mother’s subplot tends to get lost and feels a little jarring alongside the main story of the two brothers. Focusing on just the brothers might have been better.

However, Jeff, Who Lives At Home is a sweet indie film from the Duplass brothers which is funny and intelligent, and the ending is real life affirming stuff. But some people might be put off by the kookiness of it and yearn for something a little bit more. And while it’s not as good as their brilliant film Cyrus, it’s still definitely worth a watch, if only to see the brilliant Segel and Helms play off each other.

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~ by square-eyed-geek on May 31, 2012.

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