In my my previous review, I talked a little bit about my favorite movie. It seems to be a day suited to talk about my favorites, since I ended up watching a movie that features another one: Jason Segel. I’ve been a fan of his for a long time now, and when I noticed that I still hadn’t watched one of his movies, I just had to make that right. “Jeff, Who Lives at Home” is also conveniently on Netflix, and helped me clear up my indie movie list a little bit more. You can check out the trailer here, and I’ll share my quick thoughts about it with you.
“Jeff, Who Lives at Home” is a movie written and directed by Jay and Mark Duplass, that follows the title character, a 30-year-old man who lives in his mom’s basement, smokes a lot of pot, has a lot of feelings about the movie “Signs” and thinks a lot about destiny and fate. When he has to go out of the house to buy wood glue for his mother (Susan Sarandon), he embarks on a journey along with his brother, Pat (Ed Helms), and his sister in-law, Linda (Judy Greer). It’s a pretty simple plot, and the cast makes it work. Helms and Segel have very good chemistry together, and they are the highlight of the movie. Their dynamics make up the funniest moments, and also the deeper ones.
I particularly enjoyed the fact that the movie explores the idea that minor things can lead to big, life changing events. Though Jeff is looking for a deeper meaning in his life and for his place in the universe, he isn’t particularly looking for the exact things that happen to him. They, however, are what end up leading him to the events that make a big impact on him, even if it’s not in the way he expected. The movie never does get as deep as Jeff’s views of the world are, which is one of the big flaws of the movie for me, as that would have allowed for much more interesting storytelling.
The one thing I wasn’t particularly fond of was the choice to use hand-held cameras throughout most of the film (if not all of it). I understand that it is part of the style of Duplass brothers’ films, but it gets tiring even in a 75-minute long picture. In college, we tend to believe that hand-held cameras give the movies a sense of realism, and that it makes the audience feel closer to the events that are unraveling. In reality, I feel like this resource has been overused by now, and that a movie with more still cinematography would be aesthetically more pleasing.
I mentioned how much I like Jason Segel, and he was definitely my favorite part of this movie. He manages to be endearing even when playing a character that has potential to be infuriating. Jason also has a quality of making dramatic moments seem genuine, and some of the best emotional scenes in “How I Met Your Mother” featured him. I hope to see him play more serious characters because I think there’s a lot of potential there.
“Jeff, Who Lives at Home” is not, by any means, a masterpiece. However, it is effective in the way it makes you care about these characters even in such a short amount of time. I’d definitely recommend giving it a shot, especially since it may find you in a time when all the fate and destiny talks can be positive and resonate with you in one way or another.
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