W hat’s the story?
A mollycoddled 30-year-old stoner who lives in the basement of his widowed mother’s house, Jeff (Jason Segel) has become a connoisseur of strong weed, bad daytime TV and the M Night Shyamalan movie, Signs.
So enamoured by the premise of Signs, Jeff is on the lookout for signs of his own destiny and, when he answers a wrong number from a person looking for ‘Kevin’, Jeff is convinced he must follow all Kevin-related signs if he is to unravel the mystery of his existence. Meanwhile, Jeff’s infuriatingly self-centred brother, Pat (Ed Helms), has just bought a brand-new Porsche without notifying his long-suffering wife, Linda (Judy Greer), who just wants to settle down and have a family, while their mother, Sharon (Susan Sarandon), is being sent flirty instant messages from a secret admirer at work.
When Jeff and Pat’s paths randomly cross, the brothers discover Linda having an intimate lunch date with another man. Fearing that Linda is having an affair, the two siblings embark on a quest to find out what’s going on and inadvertently set out an adventure that will shape both of their destinies.
Although you’re more likely to see a Jay and Mark Duplass movie in your local arthouse cinema, the brothers have gone mainstream with the release of Jeff, Who Lives at Home, a sweet-natured, humane comedy about two rather ordinary brothers and their lonely mother trying to make sense of their humdrum lives.
Segel’s Jeff is a helplessly dreamy man-child, who has smoked too much marijuana and drifts aimlessly through life with no ambition or direction, while Helms’ Pat is the polar opposite, a selfish prat who doesn’t listen to a word anyone else is saying.
Both Segel and Helms play the flawed brothers brilliantly and, as the brothers spend more time with one another, we begin to see the buds of a long-neglected relationship blossom once more.
It’s an altogether tender and lightly emotional tale of relationships drifting apart and, with a much-needed sprinkling of humour, Jeff, Who Lives at Home displays moments of heartfelt emotion one second and lazy, easygoing comedy the next.
Susan Sarandon is typically brilliant as the boys’ devoted mother, while Judy Greer gives us an honest portrayal of a woman pushed to the edge by an inconsiderate husband.
It may sound like quite heavy subject matter, but the Duplass brothers keep the proceedings as light as possible with an amusing script and believably wayward characters who we can’t help but cheer on in their individual quests for personal redemption.
A quirky, humorous comedy drama, Jeff, Who Lives at Home is a gentle and heart-warming tale with a top-notch cast and an intriguingly offbeat story. Give it a go.