Sunday, 13 May 2012

Review - Jeff, Who Lives at Home (2011 - Dir. Jay Duplass, Mark Duplass)

It seems very strange that I have recently watched a couple of films about fate and destiny: The Wicker Tree and Jeff, Who Lives at Home. I've also read The Disappearance by Bentley Little (you'll see the relevance soon). If I believed in fate and paid attention to all of the signs that have occurred in my life recently I would now be the member of a money-leeching cult (I'm not joking either - it's a long story). Anyway, on to the film...

In the initial scenes Jeff, (Jason Segel) a thirty year old fellow who still lives at home in his mum's basement - a bit like Ronnie Corbett in Sorry - talks about the film Signs and how seemingly innocuous details all came together at the end to reveal their final destinies. Jeff then sets out to buy some wood glue, but ends up on a quest to find his destiny involving his mum, brother and... Kevin, the catalyst of this whole adventure.

This is quite a subtle comedy. There are no moments of out and out raucous chortling, like the chainsaw scene in Tucker & Dale vs. Evil, but it is quietly funny. Jeff's brother, Pat (Ed Helms) gets a lot of the best lines. The scenes involving Pat and his recently acquired Porsche are possibly the funniest moments. Some of the humour is on the cringe-inducing side of things - I normally prefer people hitting each other with cricket bats - but I didn't find it irritating like The Office.

I have two problems with this film, both minor. Pat and his mum undergo such dramatic personality changes over the course of the film that my incredulity was a tad stretched. I'll let it off because that does seem to be a feature of this type of film. The other niggly matter is the way the directors felt the need to inflict constant little zooms on us. It's like watching a camera being operated by someone with ADHD. Who's just eaten ten packs of smarties, washed down by a two litre bottle of Lucozade. And is on speed. I did get used to it (ish) but there were many times when it pulled me out of the film rather than served the story. A touch of the Danny Boyles perhaps. (Sounds nasty.)

The story is well structured - apart from possibly one leap of logic towards the end - and flows quite nicely to a satisfying conclusion. This is one of those films that I'd never heard of and I watched because it was the only thing on at the cinema that seemed half decent. I came out feeling pretty pleased with my impromptu choice. I still don't believe in fate though.

If you like this you could also try:
Garden State, Waitress.


  1. A Duplass Brothers movie I remember watching was Cyrus (2010), which I would also give a 7/10.

    The only reason to watch this 2011 film would be that I'm also about 30 as the protagonist, or if I'm in the mood for a light-hearted comedy

    1. I will give Cyrus a try at some point. This film was good enough to warrant a look into their other films.