Jeff, Who Lives at Home

He Needs To Talk About Kevin

         
 

16 March 2012| No Comments     by Sean Chavel

 

Offbeat comedy with small humble pleasures. Jeff, Who Lives at Home features Jason Segal (“I Love You, Man”) as the oafish slacker who is thirty, unemployed, and lives in the basement of his mother. The mother is not a caricature, she’s a working woman played by Susan Sarandon (“Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps”). Jeff believes in his bong and in analyzing M. Night’s Shyamalan’s “Signs” which to him is the deepest movie ever made. Mother asks him for one thing on her birthday: to go to Home Depot to get wood-glue to repair a kitchen blind shutter. This small chore looms difficulties for the over-sheltered Jeff, and finds himself caught in a series of misadventures and eventually a run-in with his successful older brother, Pat, played by Ed Helms (TV’s “The Office”), a self-proclaimed big shot who drives a Porsche and eats at Hooters when he wants to.

This isn’t the whackabout comedy that “Pineapple Express” was, instead this is more low-key like a Mike Judge movie (“Office Space,” “Extract”). It has a shaggy dog spirit, and the twists are brought upon by character-driven actions. When Pat has a fight with his wife (Judy Greer) over pancakes and his Porsche in the morning, it’s troublesome for him to see her out for lunch with another man. Pat, of course, needs a spy to check out on his wife’s indiscretions. Pat’s paranoia is ridiculous, but of course, it makes sense that Helms is playing him. Helms specializes in playing insecure guys with a combustible sense of jealousy.

Jeff is willing to help out his brother as long as it doesn’t interfere with the bigger spiritual plan that God has planned for him. See, Jeff is convinced that his destiny lies with somebody named Kevin. His first attempt with a Kevin gets him mugged. The second… well, you see where this is going.

Sibling rivalry is ubiquitous, but it’s hard to get Jeff to back down from a task once he’s really getting going. And so if Pat needs Jeff to break into a hotel room to break-up his wife from an alleged lover, then Jeff is obligated to be the human battery ram. If only he has something to motivate him on an everyday basis! Sharon, the mother, can only call and check on him so many hours of the day. It’s not that Jeff can’t be a charming doofus of a guy. But his obsession with marijuana, with epitaphs, with the movie “Signs,” with counting on the boob tube to impel him to action is what is keeping him thirty and lonely.

Mom is lonely, too. There’s a nice subplot with Sharon receiving IM’s on her chat log from a secret admirer at work. The movie has us guessing, but since there’s only two speaking parts among her co-workers, it’s easy to narrow it down. You don’t need much of your brain at work to enjoy writers-directors Jay and Mark Duplass’ “Jeff, Who Live At Home,” and on some days that might be a good thing.

83 Minutes. Rated R.

ROMANTIC COMEDY / MINDLESS PLEASURES / WEEKDAY SLACKER MOVIE

Film Cousins: “Hot Rod” (2007); “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” (2008); “Pineapple Express” (2008); “I Love You, Man” (2009).

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Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of flickminute.com, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.

 

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