Thursday, September 15, 2011

Review: Jeff, Who Lives At Home (TIFF 2011)

Jeff (Jason Segel) believes in signs. Like he really believes in them. Everything from an infomercial to flying birds mean something special in Jeff's world. That's why, when someone calls his home in the middle of the day looking for a 'Kevin', he beings his quest to find the Kevin he believes he's destined to follow. While Jeff is a 30-year-old pothead who lives in his mother's (Susan Sarandon) basement, he's kind, sweet and has a naive belief in his convictions that's refreshing to see. On the other hand, his brother Pat (Ed Helms), although married and employed, is a complete asshole, with serious communication issues and no common sense whatsoever.

What starts out as a simple trip to the Home Depot for Jeff, changes course when he and Pat see Pat's wife (Judy Greer) in a car with another man. From then on, their mission is to track and confront her, and their misadventures end up being the most genuinely funny part of the film, with undeniable comedic chemistry between Segel and Helms (playing a meaner version of Andy Bernard).

Parts of the film did feel like they were taking a page right out of an, 'Indie Movies for Dummies' handbook, with what felt like one too many scenes with characters staring into space, music playing in the background. But at the same time, each character is in kind of a rut, lost, and unable to move forward, so maybe all the wordless contemplation was justified.

From the Duplass Brothers (the Directors of last year's Cyrus), Jeff, Who Lives At Home is a unique film about the signs we see and perhaps ignore, and ultimately, the signs that bring all of the characters together. Jason Segel's performance was definitely the highlight - it's always nice to see a typically comedic actor shift into a more dramatic role so seamlessly. You actually like Jeff and wouldn't mind blazing a spliff with him.

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