Lifelong platonic friends Zack and Miri look to solve their respective cash-flow problems by making an adult film together. As the cameras roll, however, the duo begin to sense that they may have more feelings for each other than they previously thought.
It's the summer of 1994, and the streets of New York are pulsing with hip-hop. Set against this backdrop, a lonely teenager named Luke Shapiro spends his last summer before university selling marijuana throughout New York City, trading it with his unorthodox psychotherapist for treatment, while having a crush on his stepdaughter.
A psychologically troubled novelty supplier is nudged towards a romance with an English woman, all the while being extorted by a phone-sex line run by a crooked mattress salesman, and purchasing stunning amounts of pudding.
A couple who is expecting their first child travel around the U.S. in order to find a perfect place to start their family. Along the way, they have misadventures and find fresh connections with an assortment of relatives and old friends who just might help them discover "home" on their own terms for the first time.
Josh and Emily are in a relationship, but he can be inattentive and unromantic and she can shift her focus from small things to emotional issues in a moment. He invites her to drive from New York City to somewhere in Virginia to pick up a chair that he's bought on eBay for his father's birthday. On the way, he stops at his brother Rhett's, outside Philly, and invites him along. Josh tries to save money at a motel, has to negotiate with the seller of the chair and with an upholsterer, and faces tough questions from Emily. He calls her "Dude," he's moody, and it looks as if the relationship will end soon. Is there more than meets the eye here? How do people decide? Written by
For a single man, the late 20's can be a very interesting and pleasant phase of life. You still enjoy much of the freedom you had when you were younger, but without the poverty. You've got a real job, a decent car, and a place of your own with no roommate. You've probably even got a few wine glasses and some framed pictures on the wall. You've figured out how to look and act like an adult, while remaining a teenager on the inside. In "The Puffy Chair," Josh (Mark Duplass) is just such a guy (not a man, but a guy). He sets off on a road trip to deliver his dad's birthday present, a purple Lazy-Boy just like one Josh remembers from his childhood. It's clear he is looking forward to some solo time on the road, but first his girlfriend Emily (Kathryn Aselton) and then his brother Rhett (Rhett Wilkins) tag along. In true road-trip fashion the three encounter various challenges along the way, and hash out their relationships.
The dynamics between the emotionally reticent Josh and his effusive, impulsive brother are there mainly for comic relief. The main theme of "The Puffy Chair" is the tension between Josh, who is happy just being a guy and having a girlfriend, and Emily who craves at least some emotional validation if not a solid commitment. The painful, late-night "conversations" that result will be uncomfortably familiar to most. Don't be misled, though. "The Puffy Chair" deals with real feelings and relationship issues, but it is above all else a hilarious road-trip comedy.
The first full-length feature by the Duplass brothers (Mark and Jay), "The Puffy Chair" is unmistakably low-budget. I suspect the biggest budget item was the actual chair. The quality of the cinematography and lighting lies somewhere between cheap porn and after-school special. The performances, on the other hand, are very heartfelt and enjoyable. One nice independent-film touch is that Josh's parents are played by Mark Duplass's actual parents. In one pivotal scene, Mr. Duplass dispenses some of his own fatherly advice.
I caught Puffy Chair at Sundance, and I will be surprised if it hits the Cineplex any time soon. It's a delightful movie, but it doesn't have the breakout success potential of a "Napoleon Dynamite." This is more the "Brothers McMullen" of 2005. See it if you can, and keep an eye out for the next Duplass brothers effort. 4 out of 5 stars.
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