Movie Review: Jeff, Who Lives at Home [2011]

Jeff, Who Lives at Home [2011]

Jeff, Who Lives at Home [2011]
Director: Jay Duplass, Mark Duplass
Genre: Comedy/Drama
Starring: Jason Segel, Ed Helms, Susan Sarandon and Judy Greer
Runtime: 83 Minutes

Living as a 30-year-old shut-in would seemingly provide an ample amount of time to think about things and attempt to gain a greater meaning from life. Especially if said shut-in is a pot smoking slacker who lives in his mother’s basement. This is Jeff (Jason Segel), a guy who coasts through life while waiting for his destiny to come to him. He has a strong affinity for M. Night Shyamalan’s 2002 film, Signs, and he believes that everything happens for a reason, just like in that movie.

One day, Jeff receives a phone call from an angry person looking for “Kevin”. This is a seemingly wrong number dial to anyone else, but Jeff does not see it this way. He takes this to be a sign and heads off to run an errand, which allows him the opportunity to keep an eye out for more potential clues. This simple trip to the hardware store becomes an adventure when he sees a young guy on the bus wearing a “Kevin” basketball jersey. A series of unexpected events leads Jeff to run into his detached older brother, Pat (Ed Helms), who seemingly has it all: a wife, a house, a well-paying job.

However, the two of them stumble upon Pat’s wife, Linda (Judy Greer) having lunch with another man. In an effort to find out what is going on, they begin following her car, acting as amateur private detectives. Suddenly their mundane day has become an adventure.

Jeff, Who Lives at Home [2011]

We also meet the mother of Jeff and Pat, Sharon (Susan Sarandon), who is randomly instant messaged by someone at work, a secret admirer. This gives her normal office routine a pleasant jolt, quite similar to what is happening with her sons.

This all ties together in a charming, pleasing way, and there are quite a few laughs throughout. The Duplass brothers have an offbeat sense of humor (see: 2010’s Cyrus), but it works quite well with such strong names attached to the script. Segel and Helms are given a chance to show off their acting chops, as each are given some surprisingly powerful dramatic moments. One scene involving Helms and Greer arguing about their dysfunctional marriage is about as raw and vivid as it gets.

Jeff, Who Lives at Home [2011]

While sweet and generally pleasing, the film has some noticable issues. The Duplass brothers have a bizarre tendency to frequently zoom in and out at a rapid pace, which ultimately feels unnecessary in the context of the film. I also noticed several instances where the characters would leave a situation without properly resolving the matter (i.e. not paying for a bill at a restaurant, not paying taxi fare, etc.). Minor quibbles, yes, but these loose ends could have been easily tied up.

Jeff, Who Lives at Home has gained a wider release than I would have guessed (I saw it at an AMC Theater), which is a nice surprise for a film like this. While not perfect, the movie is an enjoyable affair that wisely mixes up humor and drama, all while utilizing a great cast with solid chemistry.

7/10

For a counter viewpoint, take the words from another moviegoer at my theater. Displeased with my reaction of “it was pretty good”, this loudmouth patron yelled “Pretty good?!?!? THAT WAS FUCKING AWESOME!” So yeah, your mileage may vary.

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11 thoughts on “Movie Review: Jeff, Who Lives at Home [2011]

  1. rtm says:

    My friend just reviewed this for me. I’m not as enthused about this one but I might give it a rent. Glad it was worth your money at the cinema Eric.

  2. Castor says:

    I usually like these kind of dramedy and Ed Helms/Jason Segel is a pretty appealing duo. Looks like it should be worth a rental. I’m not going to spend money seeing it in theater though 😉 Nice review Eric!

  3. CMrok93 says:

    This could have had so much more potential to be better than it already was but it had lazy writing. Everything was one big coincidence and the end was way too heavy and cheesy to make this somewhat slacker comedy reach out. Good review though my man. It had its moments and a good cast but it bothered me a little too much.

    • Eric says:

      Thanks Dan. I can see how the high number of coincidences could be annoying, but I loved how everything tied together in the end. Maybe not entirely believable, but still a charming, fun little story.

  4. sanclementejedi says:

    Nice review Eric, The plot of this film struck me as sort of derivative. Your review has not convinced me that I need to run out and see this film. I think I will wait to check this out via streaming at some point.
    So how did that go down at the theater did you stand up and announce it was “pretty good” and got shouted down by “it was fucking awesome guy” or was he listening in our conversation?

    • Eric says:

      Thanks man. It’s a good movie and worth a watch, but not necessary to see in the cinema.

      As far as that convo goes, it happened as we were exiting the theater. He turned to me and asked what I thought of the movie, I said it was pretty good, and then he yelled that it was “FUCKING AWESOME!” Just a standard obnoxious guy — he was also chatting to another couple behind us afterward and started rattling off Netflix recommendations, despite their obvious lack of interest. More amusing than annoying, thankfully.

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