Jeff, Who Lives at Home

Jeff, Who Lives at Home

What She said:


So, what can we expect from a movie that titled Jeff, Who Lives at Home?  Suspicion would tell me that it’s independent, quirky, and yes, the main character lives at home.  Well, my suspicions were correct.  Jeff, Who Lives at Home is about a guy named Jeff (Jason Segal) who is a world class deadbeat.  He’s a huge pothead who at age 30 is unemployed, lives with him mom, and doesn’t seem motivated to really do anything.  Jeff is too busy thinking abstractly about things to make himself useful in any way that would benefit his mother (Susan Sarandon) or greater society.  And his brother, Pat (Ed Helms), is not much better.  Pat is married, lives in a rental with his patient wife (Judy Greer), and works for some sort of paint store.  He’s as self-absorbed as they come, completely unaware of the rest of the world around him, and this is slowly but surely leading to the destruction of his marriage.

This movie doesn’t have an overwhelming Point A to Point B plot.  Mainly, the film just takes you through a day in the life of Jeff.  He’s sitting around contemplating the meaning of life when his mom calls and tells him to go get wood glue from the hardware store.  And thusly, Jeff begins his journey.  Some crazy things happen to Jeff, as he follows his instincts and continually looks for signs.  Eventually, he ends up meeting up with his brother.  Then Jeff and Pat continue the journey together, as they each try to improve their life situations.  In the meantime, their mother is stuck at work also trying to envision a new beginning for herself.

This isn’t exactly the most exciting movie in the world, but it’s an interesting character study.  There are some moments where things get a bit slow.  I had hoped for, and expected, more humor, although Jeff, Who Lives at Home does throw out ironic laughs here and there.  The film asks you to consider the notion of destiny, and the signs that abound in this world.  It’s not entirely abstract, but hard to have the patience for.  The movie offers good performances from all the actors, which compensates for some of the dullness at times.  Overall, it’s not a bad movie, but it may not resonate with every viewer.

Thumbs mostly up.

What he said:


Jeff (Jason Segel) likes the movie Signs. He likes it so much that he kind of lives by the movie’s message. He believes that all the little things in life really point to one big thing and he’s always searching for his one big thing. Have I mentioned that he smokes his fair share of weed and lives in his mom’s basement? Yeah, it’s kind of like that.

His mother Sharon (Susan Sarandon) is absolutely fed up with him. Not only is doing nothing with his life, he doesn’t even contribute to things around the house.  It is one of the many frustrations in her life. She is kind of bored and lonely in life and disappointed with how everything has turned out in her and her children’s lives. 

Her other son Pat (Ed Helms) is in a struggling relationship. He suspects his wife (Judy Greer) is cheating on him. He also has a poor relationship with his brother Jeff; which seems to be an issue between him and his mother. One day while out on an errand, the two brothers run into one another and spot Pat’s wife Linda with another man. This begins the journey together and makes up most of the movie. They find out just what Linda is up to as well as a little bit about each other along the way.

I thought this movie was pretty funny. I also thought it had some nice sentiments. But I’ll be damned if I didn’t feel like it tried too hard to be “different” at times. We live in a time where Hollywood goes overboard with just about everything. Sequels, prequels, massive chase sequences, explosions so big they come off as unrealistic; we live in an era of overkill when it comes to movies. So, I am by no means against something smaller and simpler. I don’t have a problem with independent or “art house” films. I have a problem when they try too hard to be that way. It comes off like that hipster kid who thinks he is so unique, but is part of an entire subculture.   Stop trying so damn hard and just make your movie. This was a decent enough movie, but could have been closer to something like Little Miss Sunshine if had simply stopped trying to hard to be quirky – yet poignant – and simply just let things unfold.

Rating: Thumbs half up.

This movie review was written for your reading pleasure on July 7, 2012.