Modern cinema has been slandered with so called “heartfelt comedies” that are both unfunny and unmoving. Although the list for painful excuses for movies is incomprehensibly lengthy, it is fair to say Jeff, Who Lives at Home will not be added to that list. The story centers around Jeff, played by the spectacular Jason Segel, who lives in the basement of his mother’s house and has a strong believe in the “everything happens for a reason” philosophy, which is mainly influenced by his love for the M. Night Shyamalan directed film, Signs. When a mysterious caller contacts his home asking for a man named Kevin, Jeff begins to believe it is a sign, therefore setting out to find out who Kevin is; an adventure in which he comes into contact with his older, more successful brother, played by Ed Helms, whose personal life takes a drastic turn, and it is up to Jeff to figure out how to help his older brother in his time of need.
I saw this film for the first time today, which is in August, so have already seen a few spectacular films this year such as The Hunger Games, Marvel’s The Avengers, and The Dark Knight Rises. That being said, Jeff is not one of my top 5 films of the year, but it sure is a great one. This film is written and directed by Jay and Mark Duplass, who also directed Cyrus, and, as the for the writing, they do a fantastic job. The film is littered with witty dialogue and some hilarious scenes of awkwardness, which are beautifully showcased by Jason Segel. As for the direction by the Duplass brothers, it is fine. There are a few scenes that left me shaking my head in disappointment, whether it be because the camera was zoomed in to the point that nothing could be seen, or because the “zoom in, zoom out” technique, which I hate, was used too often. However, the plot, with the issues of signs and fate, was handled very well by the directors and all of the performances here are solid, especially from the two leads, Segel and Helms.
Overall, you have to admire this film for what it is: a well acted and well written piece of work that will make you laugh hysterically all while tugging at your heartstrings.
Run Time: 82 mins
Rated: R for language including sexual references and some drug use