49. Jeff, Who Lives at Home (R) - Runtime: 83 minutes
Starring: Jason Segal, Ed Helms, Susan Surandon
Director: Jay Duplass, Mark Duplass
I think I'm becoming an avid fan of the Duplass brothers. I've really enjoyed Baghead and Cyrus - two movies that, while not perfect, managed to make me laugh and really, really care for the quirky and sincere characters they wrote. I think Jeff, Who Lives at Home is by far their best work to date and it's almost a perfect movie. And clocking in at less than an hour and half, the movie is easily digestable and a fun little movie that not only has some laughs, but some honestly touching moments.
Jeff, played by Segal, is a man-child who still lives with his mom and believes in destiny and signs. In fact, Jeff is first introduced by talking about the movie Signs (that dreadful M. Night Shyamalan movie with Mel Gibson and the aliens). He talks about how all these seemingly random and insignificant events in the movie all culminate into one perfect ending. He believes himself to be destined. Ed Helms plays his brother, Pat, an egotistical asshole who has responded to his father's death in a much different way. So when Jeff gets a wrong phone call (or is there no wrong numbers?) for a "Kevin," it leads him on a quest to reconcile his past and confront his destiny.
It all sounds a bit too heavy, but trust me, the movie is actually light on all the drama (even though there is some serious shit going on). That's what I really enjoyed about the movie - it filters itself through Jeff's eyes so we can only merely shake our head at the absurdity of it all. The movie isn't necessarily unrealistic, but much like Signs, there are stronger forces at work pulling everyone together for the perfect ending. And it truly is a moving ending, I found myself choking up near the end. This is where Maggie would chime in and say "Ha! I knew it was a sad movie!" But I was actually tearing up over how happy I felt. It certainly is an uplifting movie.
As for the performances - it's nice to see Segal and Helms get to stretch themselves dramatically. Helms has been known for playing lovable oafs, but this time around he's much more cynical and a jerk, so it's nice to see him play something out of his wheelhouse. As for Segal, I feel like he's reprised his role from Freaks & Geeks. Jeff is just a grown up Nick Andopolis, searching for his destiny. And Surandon plays their mom who's having trouble trying to let loose and have some fun.
The movie is short and doesn't have a hard time jumping right into the action. It all takes place in one day and the pacing couldn't have been better. You get right into the movie and at the end you'll find yourself wondering where those 83 minutes went. It's a fun story and certainly worth watching - if not for the story, then the wonderful performances on display.
Rating: Rent It!