Jeff, Who Lives at Home

PLOT:

The film is about two brothers who reside in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Jeff (Segel) is a 30-year-old unemployed stoner, living in his mother’s basement. His older brother Pat (Helms) struggles with a failing marriage. Their widowed mother, Sharon (Sarandon), is disappointed with Jeff and with her unfulfilled dreams.

Jeff looks for his destiny in seemingly random occurrences. He finds inspiration in the feature film Signs, which reinforces his belief in his outlook. One day, he answers the telephone; it’s a wrong number, from somebody asking for “Kevin,” and Jeff contemplates the meaning of this and decides it’s a sign. He pursues people or things named Kevin as a result.

After coincidentally meeting his brother Pat, they suspect that Pat’s wife, Linda (Greer), is cheating on him. They try to determine how to handle the situation. Meanwhile, Sharon finds some solace in a “secret admirer” sending her messages at work. Throughout a day of random meetings and emotional revelations, Jeff, Pat, Sharon, and Sharon’s secret admirer come together in a traffic jam on a bridge, and Jeff finally finds what he’s looking for.

REVIEW:

This must be some kind of Freaks and Geeks alumni weekend, first with James Franco, and now with Jason Segel in Jeff, Who Lives at Home. This is one of those independent dramedies, so the question is does it remember that it has comedy roots, or does it go down that drama route without ever looking back?

What is this about?

Siblings Jay and Mark Duplass direct this comedy focusing on two brothers — one a moderate success, the other still living with Mom. A trip to the store for glue, however, turns into an encounter with destiny for the stay-at-home slacker.

What did I like?

Believe it or not. I know that I can’t be the only one to notice that nearly every movie, TV show, or what have you has characters that are pretty well-adjusted (by default), live in big fancy houses and, for the most part, have no real problems. The filmmakers decided to turn that on its side and give us characters who are struggling both mentally and financially. In other words, these are real people. A breath of fresh air, to be certain.

Old lady crush. There are a few women of, shall we say, advanced years that I have a giant crush on. Helen Mirren tops the list, of course, but Susan Sarandon is up there pretty high. It was a good thing to see her on the screen again, and better looking than ever. Separation/divorce did her good!

What didn’t I like?

Shrill. This is another flick where the woman seems to be doing nothing more than nagging her husband. I love Judy Greer, don’t get me wrong, but they could have either written her character better, or found another actress. Also, a redhead? I guess Ed Helms’ character was looking for someone like his mother.

Location. As someone who actually lives in Baton Rouge, I can say that there is not a single place in this city that looks like that dilapidated semi-ghetto they portray it to be. As a matter of fact, this was filmed in Metairie, LA. Why wasn’t it actually filmed here, rather than an hour or so down the road? Your guess is as good as mine!

Kevin. Segel’s character is one of those that is innocent to a fault, as we see when he gets his mugged by the guys he was playing basketball with, including “Kevin”. Maybe it is just me, but wouldn’t it have been a nice touch to have “Kevin” show back up at the film’s end in some manner? Maybe to return Jeff’s money, have a part in the climax, or even be Sarandon’s secret admirer.

Jeff, Who Lives at Home didn’t really do anything for me. There were moments that made me chuckle and the story is good enough, but there isn’t anything here that will have me wanting to go buy this DVD or move my schedule around because this is on television one day. Do I recommend it? That’s a tough one because this isn’t bad, it just doesn’t have anything work recommending. I guess if you’re in a bind, desperately looking for something to watch, this will do. Otherwise, it is best going on to something else.

3 out of 5 stars

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