ELIZABETH LOPEZ' REVIEW
Indian Paintbrush, Mr. Mudd and Right of Way Films produced the Paramount Vantage film ‘Jeff, Who Lives At Home,’ starring Jason Segel and Ed Helms. Directed and written by former Austinites, Jay and Mark Duplass, the movie had its World Premiere at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival. After that September, the film was in the Marquee Screenings at the Austin Film Festival in October 2011, where the writer/directors shared a great time with the audience during the panel at the Driskill Hotel. Jay and Mark Duplass’ credits include ‘The Puffy Chair’, ‘Baghead,’ ‘Cyrus,’ and they have many fans judging from the packed room and excellent reviews.
The 83 minute comedy filmed in Louisiana is truly a good story that captures many aspects of today’s society, from the comedic to the dramatic. Jeff (Jason Segel) lives in a basement room in the home of his mother, Sharon (Susan Sarandon). His married brother, Pat (Ed Helms) seems to think his wife, Linda (Judy Greer) may not be at the office when she should be.
Jeff is without a job and has trouble leaving home to run some simple errands his mother wants him to do in order to do some useful chores around the house. Sharon becomes irate and eventually Jeff heads out to the store, but that trip ends up being one long excursion that changes this family’s life.
Jeff’s belief is that destiny will come to him and when he is finally out of the house, he starts to interpret everything as a sign for him to do something or be somewhere. One of his “interpretations” leads him on a strange journey with Pat, his brother, as he sorts through his marital conflict and discovering his mother has made some discoveries of her own with co-workers, including Carol (Rae Dawn Chong).
Jason Segel and Ed Helms excel in their performances in a film that is expertly written to create the viewers to have unexpected emotions with the characters. Susan Sarandon is one of my favorites in the industry and although her role is not as extensive as in other of her films, she is outstanding, especially in scenes in her office by water coolers and other impressive water scenes.
This is one of my favorite films from last year’s festival and it is a very good option among the comedic films opening in theaters on March 16th. This one is smart, funny and above all else, original screenwriting work that deserves to be recognized.
MARK SALDANA'S REVIEW
RATING: 4 (Out of 4 Stars)
Suffering from arrested development possibly due to too much pot smoking, Jeff (Jason Segal) has been living in his mother's basement still waiting for a sign. He has been waiting for a sign to direct him towards his destiny, instead of making it happen on his own. His total opposite brother, Pat (Ed Helms), however, could definitely use some time to reflect on the decisions in his life and the way he has treated his once loving and supportive wife Linda (Judy Greer). Pat's and Jeff's mother Sharon (Susan Sarandon) lives a frustrated life. She has grown frustrated of her son Jeff who has refused to grow up and join the "normal" human race and is also frustrated with Pat for his total disregard for his family and wife. Sharon is also a lonely widow longing for the romance she has missed for many years. When Jeff receives a mistaken phone call, he believes that this has been the sign he has been waiting for and decides to further investigate this sign. His pursuit sets off a fateful chain of events which help everyone in his family take a moment to reflect on their lives and help unite the troubled family.
I have to say that I absolutely loved this movie! Jay and Mark Duplass not only do an amazing job directing this film, but also have an insanely well written script which mixes their wonderful comic sensibilities with just the right amount of poignancy without being too sappy. I sat in the theater glued to the screen as the wondrous events played out. I have enjoyed previous films by the Duplass brothers, but this time, I feel that they have outdone themselves. I recently watch DO DECA PENTHATHLON which was filmed before this movie and can clearly see how it lays the foundations for this picture. That particular movie left me wanting more. In fact a lot of their previous work has left me feeling that way. This one delivers in a profound way.
The entire cast delivers excellent performances. I know it is way early in the movie year, but Segal, Helms, Sarandon, and Greer all deserve recognition for their acting in this film. They offer some of their finest work that I’ve ever seen. I highly recommend this beautifully serendiptious movie. This definitely is a crowd pleaser which could possibly make even the hardest of hearts shed a tear. I stood up and applauded at the film’s end.