Your eyes do not deceive you, this is in fact a movie review outside the realm of Flick Friday. I was fortunate enough to see this back in November at the St. Louis Film International Festival, and wanted to share my opinion pre-release (not usually possible). So here’s a special, day before its release review of “Jeff Who Lives at Home”:
“Jeff Who Lives at Home” is a search for destiny, meaning, satisfaction (if not happiness), Kevin, and wood glue. It’s the latest from writing and directing duo (and brothers) Jay and Mark Duplass (“Cyrus”). Coincidentally, it is also a story about brothers…and mothers, fathers, sons, husbands, and wives…not a lot of daughters coincidentally.
Jeff (Jason Segel) is 30, single, unemployed, and living in his widowed mother Sharon’s (Susan Sarandon) basement. From what we can tell he spends his days watching “Signs,” analyzing the true meaning of this M. Night Shyamalan thriller, and other activities his mother would rather not know about.
In Jeff’s world there are no coincidences, everything has meaning, you just have to pay attention.
When an ultimatum from his mother-get wood glue to fix the shutter or move out-collides with a wrong number call for Kevin, Jeff finds himself in the middle of a twist of fate larger than he is…or is it?
Along the way Jeff runs into his brother Pat (Ed Helms), a man unknowingly stuck in a stalled marriage. Pat has just bought a Porsche, against the obvious (to everyone else) wishes of his wife Linda (Judy Greer). He’s a motivated, but single-minded man who’s lost sight of his life. So what starts out as Pat trying to motivate Jeff, per their mother’s request, turns into a continuation of Jeff’s journey.
Somehow, although the quest for glue is continually derailed by Kevin (whoever he is) and family and a series of maybe not so coincidental coincidences, it all comes together, and it comes together quite beautifully with lessons learned, lives restored, and Jeff.
For a story about a supposed slacker, this film is rather motivated. Jeff, who is in all probability set up to be the fool of this comedy comes out as the hero, and it’s to the credit of all involved. The storytelling is simple, but effective. The cast is small, but truly impactful in their performances. It’s a simple, intimate, naturalistic, and entertaining story about family, fate, and how we live life.