Film Review: Jason Segel, Ed Helms in Inconsistent ‘Jeff, Who Lives at Home’

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HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.0/5.0
Rating: 3.0/5.0

CHICAGO – Writer/directors Jay and Mark Duplass clearly love their characters. Whether it’s the awkward man-child at the center of “Cyrus” or the title character in their new dramedy “Jeff, Who Lives at Home,” there’s a charming affection for these people. I really enjoyed spending time with the quartet of well-drawn, well-acted people in “Jeff,” which makes the fact that their story is less-structured and sloppier than it should be to be effective all the more frustrating. I SO want to love “Jeff, Who Lives at Home,” but this dude is too often stuck in the creative basement.

The four characters at the center of “Jeff, Who Lives at Home” are the title slacker (Jason Segel), his brother Pat (Ed Helms), his sister-in-law Linda (Judy Greer), and his mother Sharon (Susan Sarandon). “Jeff” is essentially about how it might not always be a bad idea to let the unseen, fate-destined flow of the universe to guide you. We live in a world that’s so defined by structures, labels, etc. that we sometimes lose sight of things like instinct and destiny. And the fact is that those traits are often seen as crutches of the lazy – successful people plan, slackers go with the flow – but is that true? Can the flow show you things you wouldn’t have otherwise seen and even impact the world?

StarRead Brian Tallerico’s full review of “Jeff, Who Lives at Home” in our reviews section.

If it sounds like a deep subject for a character-driven dramedy, don’t worry. The Duplass brothers don’t hit their themes too strongly, focusing on the people in their film without underlined moral lessons. However, the film could have used a bit more underlining. It often feels about as meandering as its central character. I like that the Duplass brothers don’t overly concern themselves with structure and pace but it can lead to a final product that feels too meandering for its own good. “Jeff, Who Lives at Home” gets a bit repetitive and a bit lost (in no small part due to a shift in focus to Helms’ miscast character) in the second act and so the surprisingly emotional final one doesn’t connect in the way it should. It’s a near-miss.

StarContinue reading for Brian Tallerico’s full “Jeff, Who Lives at Home” review.

“Jeff, Who Lives at Home” stars Jason Segel, Ed Helms, Susan Sarandon, Judy Greer, and Rae Dawn Chong. It was written and directed by Jay & Mark Duplass. It was released on March 16th, 2012.

Jeff, Who Lives at Home
Jeff, Who Lives at Home
Photo credit: Paramount Pictures

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