Jeff, Who Lives at Home is a 2011 comedy film directed by Jay and Mark Duplass, starring Jason Segel, Ed Helms and Susan Sarandon. You may have seen commercials for it and thought “Yeah, I might see that if my Saturday night plans fall through;” however your plans did not fall through and you had an amazing Saturday night. Good times.
The film follows the eponymous Jeff (Segel) who is the 30-year-old screw-up that you expect him to be, smoking pot and maintaining a child-like optimism. He lives with his widowed mother Sharon (Sarandon), whose mundane life becomes a little more interesting when she discovers a secret admirer at work. Jeff receives a phone call from a wrong number asking for Kevin. Jeff is a big fan of the movie Signs, and believing that everything happens for a reason, treats the phone call as an destined event. He runs an errand for his mom and sees a young man with a basketball jersey with the name Kevin on the back. Jeff follows Kevin and eventually ends up playing basketball and smoking pot with him, only to be mugged by Kevin’s friends. Jeff wanders around and happens upon his brother Pat (Helms), who is having a “business meeting” at Hooters with a coworker. Pat is a man of middling success whose marriage is falling apart and is going through a mid-life crisis of sorts. Jeff and Pat discover that Pat’s wife Linda (Judy Greer) is cheating on him, and the brothers follow her to a motel to confront her. All of the family members’ stories eventually fatefully intersect at the end for a dramatic finish.
Similar to the Duplass Brothers last feature film Cyrus – Jeff, Who Lives at Home is more of a melodrama than a comedy, playing on the quirkiness of its characters in order to reach its narrative goal. The film takes the overused deadbeat manchild character and places emphasis on his sincerity rather than his stupidity. One things that sets the film apart is its score by Michael Andrews, who has worked on other funny/not-so-funny films like Cyrus and Funny People as well as the television series Freaks and Geeks. His slightly upbeat and whimsical composition is a good complement for Jeff’s hopeful and destiny-based worldview. The film isn’t immensely sad, though it isn’t immensely funny either. Despite its aspirations, Jeff, Who Lives at Home will be lost to time in a sea of similarly forgettable family melodramas.
Final Grade: ★★★ 3/5 Stars
Rent it? Eh. If you have a thing for Jason Segel, perhaps.