Jeff Who Lives at Home

8/10

The Duplass Brothers directed “Jeff Who Lives at Home” with a stingy sense of life and desperation, a comedy of errors. It features Jason Siegel and Ed Helms as opposite brothers; Segel is Jeff, a pot-smoking and cosmic-connector of sorts, and Helms is Pat, a loose-cannon business man who is having trouble with his marriage. The two are thrown together into a series of circumstances, when Jeff’s mom tells him to go to Home Depot to fix the shutters, and he finds Helms outside a hooters restaurant at a business-meeting. “You’re having a business meeting at hooters? That’s classy.” Jeff says.  We find out later in the film, as they walk endlessly together after Pat’s new Porsche is towed, that their father died when they were young; it had an adverse affect on all of them, including the mother, who in a story of her own, struggles to find out who in the office is her ‘secret admirer’.

Jeff has an intuition about many things, and during the scenes where his brother Pat asks his advice, you can see he is just a person, but a natural one; he tells Pat to hold his breath, and just tell his wife he loves her so much: it’s more complicated, Pat pesters, but in the end Jeff is right. The movie feels mainstream, but is also funny and has an indie-like touchiness to it; the Duplass filmmakers want to depict the struggles of the common man in a funny, but also prying manner. And although the character’s are somewhat one-dimensional and seen before, the strained business man and the shaggy-dog, it takes them into new grounds, testing their bounds and personalities. Before Pat finds out his wife may be cheating on him, he would have never quietly sat in a bath tub with his brother, just talking. It would have been weird: but on the emotional fringe, distressed and not knowing where to start, he sits and ponders, like Jeff does all day.

The conclusion to the film is breathtaking and very heartfelt. Sure, it’s an ending that’s seen in Adam Sandler comedies, but its an ending not for those movies, but for Jeff. He deserves the self-recognition; through being overshadowed by his brother’s confidence, and his own lack of, it does wonders for him. Though simplistic at times, the movie is hilarious and written with keen nuance, featuring great performances from Jason Siegel, Ed Helms, and Susan Sarandon.

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