Homefront movie
7.25 out of 10
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire movie
8.75 out of 10
Disney's Frozen movie
10.0 out of 10
Delivery Man movie
6.75 out of 10
8.25 out of 10

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Jeff, Who Lives At Home

Looking for Kevin

Rated: R  Language, some drug use and sexual references
Release Date: March 16, 2012
Runtime: 1 hr 23 mins

Director:  Jay Duplass, Mark Duplass
Writers: Jay Duplass, Mark Duplass
Cast:  Jason Segel, Ed Helms, Susan Sarandon, Judy Greer, Rae Dawn Chong, Steve Zissis

SYNOPSIS: When 30-year-old Jeff is told to got out of the house to buy wood glue for a broken pantry door shutter, he ventures out of the basement letting the universe guide his path throughout the day.

REVIEW: Jay and Mark Duplass, writers and directors of the 2005 Sundance breakout hit The Puffy Chair, as well as Baghead and Cyrus, combine their collective writing and vision again for another off-beat semi-comedic drama Jeff, Who Lives at Home. Don't let the title fool you, hardly any of the film takes place inside the Jeff's home.
30-year-old slacker pothead Jeff (Jason Segel, The Muppets) resides in his widowed mother Sharon (Susan Sarandon, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps) basement. Letting the cosmos guide his life, Jeff sits and waits for his destiny to reveal itself. On his mother's birthday, Jeff's mother calls to demand that Jeff get out of the house, onto a bus, and to the local Home Depot to pick up wood glue for a broken pantry door shutter before she comes home from work. When a mis-dialed call asking for Kevin comes in, Jeff sees the call as a sign that guides him throughout the day. What starts as a bus ride, soon becomes stalking as Jeff follows a ball player with the name Kevin stitched on the back of his jersey. Enter Jeff's brother Pat (Ed Helms, The Hangover Part II) who starts the day revealing to his wife Linda (Judy Greer, The Descendants) he has bought a Porsche and ends up running into the cosmically guided Jeff who assists Pat in following Linda when it appears that his wife may be cheating on him. Meanwhile, Sharon becomes the focus of a secret admirer who sends her a picture of a flower and converses with her through the office's instant chat interface. As Sharon tries to uncover the man who is either interested in her or playing a practical joke on her, she confides her findings with close coworker Carol (Rae Dawn Chong, Cyrus).

What seems to be a series of random, unrelated events (as written above) is actually a closely wound story. Jeff's way of thinking about his life and the purpose of his life is akin to how he views M. Night Shyamalan's film Signs. When he is confronted by the first Kevin (Evan Ross, Pride) of the day, he tries to impress upon the young basketball player that the reason why he was following the young man was because life is like the movie. Even at the beginning of the film, Jeff actually dictates into a recording device how important and decisive the elements of Signs is in terms of how he sees the world.

Although a family, Jeff, his brother Pat and his wife Linda, and their mother Sharon are a broken family even though living in the same town. Pat doesn't understand why Jeff is the way he is. Sharon wonders why her wonderful cute sons have grown up to be so different than what she remembers them as they were growing up. Pat and Linda live with blinders on and are so passive aggressive in their relationship with each other, the bonds of their marriage are disintegrating even as they sit together at the kitchen table.

As Jeff's day is shaped by signs comprised primarily with references to people and things designated with the name Kevin, Jeff finds himself joining up with his brother at points, then forced to abandon Pat as another 'Kevin' sign comes into view. The journey that starts off as an earnest effort to get to the supply store for wood glue becomes a funny and touching adventure.

Jason Segel brings his brand of Knocked Up stoner sensibility and open faith to the role of Jeff. Ed Helms dials down his Andy Bernard (The Office) stamina without losing the kinetic nervousness that Pat has sitting just under the surface. Sarandon and Dawn Chong, both still beautiful, prove that talent and grace will shape actresses throughout entire careers.

Jeff, Who Lives at Home is a surprisingly touching and real look at life with a bit of light humor thrown in. The situations that Jeff gets into or that Pat gets Jeff into offer a down to earth story that draws the audience in for a fine movie going experience. Jeff, Who Lives at Home will never be considered George Clooney's The Descendants, but it covers similar ground in an off-beat Louisiana sort of way.

WORTH: Matinee or Rental

1 comment:

  1. It's a pretty thin concept for a feature, with some potent one-liners and sight gags that are more sporadic than consistent. The cast is pretty good and tries their best but what I was mostly surprised by was how unfunny Segel and Helms were together, and they were improvising half of the time too! Nice review Chuck.