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|Index||109 reviews in total|
This is gonna go down as one of my favourite cult films, with lots of
unusual goings on and a wacky structure to it that I've never seen
before. The whole thing kicks off when a stay-at-home nerd Jeff takes a
wrong number from someone looking for a guy called Kevin, and from that
point on that name holds particular significance to him, and he must
follow anything with that moniker attached to it.
It only gets odder from there, as the rest of his family aren't any less strange either... his brother is obsessed at the prospect of his wife having an affair and so keeps her under constant surveillance, and his mother is being passed anonymous love notes at the office... which turn out to be from another woman.
It all might sound as though it's silly for the sake of it, but there is an underlying structure to all this mayhem which only becomes clear a few minutes before the ending credits. Until then, the pleasures are bountiful...
We hear REAL people talk, not one dimensional cyphers, and they're warm and witty, and we like all of them. These are the sort of individuals I want at my funeral (But let's save that discussion for another day) We care about their fates, and the many snarky exchanges (especially between Jeff and his brother) make it laugh-out-loud funny too. Plus, at a time when originality in cinema is so rare, here's a relative gold mine of ideas.
I get the feeling that the rewatchability (Not a word, but who cares?) aspect of this film is high, as so much goes on you'll have forgotten about half of it by the next day. And believe me, I intend to prove that in the future. Fabulous. 8/10
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
How's this for a movie twist? I wanted to watch We Need to Talk About
Kevin, but realized I didn't have access to that movie and settled on
Jeff, Who Lives at Home and the entire idea of the movie is based
around talking about a "Kevin" who will lead our "hero" Jeff
Well, "Kevin" led me to something insightful, all right: a very nice little indie that satisfyingly served my emotions right for the night.
Now, I've been a Mumblecore fan over the years. They're the little independent films mostly done by the Duplass brothers (see the Mark one on the awesome FX series: The League) and they show every bit of a "low budget." I doubt this film will fit in that category, even though it's written/directed by both Jay and Mark Duplass. Regardless, it's got their charm all around.
Jeff (Jason Segel) does, in fact, live at home and smokes pot, has less than a percent of ambition and gets freaked by a landline phone call from someone looking for a "Kevin." Originally, that's incidental to his mission to head to Home Depot to buy supplies for home repair, his mother requests.
Sidetracked or was he? stoner Jeff wanders in a quest to find the meaning of said "KEVIN" and repeatedly works with and bumps into his straight-laced brother, Pat (Ed Helms, who slightly channels his The Office character, Andy) to spy on his mid-life marriage crisis unfolding.
As with a lot of indie films that don't have the budget to execute a fulfilling conclusion, I expected the worst. Sure, I would've still liked the film although I still expected the open-interpreted cop-out and low-cost finale. Mercifully, this one might have rode on the star power to get the ending we all wanted. Needed.
NO I'm not attempting to spoil anything. It's just suffice to say, they don't end it like some first-time writers/directors leave the audience with the ocean-wide finale so that "people will talk" which I am finding tedious (and cliché) as of late.
Now, the movie isn't perfect by any means, and like most fictional movies that were based on other fictional movies (they tell you this one's based on another movie in minute one) it's hard to live up to expectations. I'm a fan of Swordfish which many are not and both movies come with the opening speech concerning what movie this is based on. That's like me making my $1,000 movie and saying how much I LOVED Halloween in the opening. It's doubtful my movie will pan out as masterful.
Also, while I like the message, the deliberate pacing and most of the lines, it wasn't an outright laugh-fest nor had the deepest of meanings. I think it wanted to, but failed just shy of that.
Still, it's enjoyable, and I loved the third act. Yeah, even with the most obvious revelation in the middle section with momma bear, Sharon's (Susan Sarandon) character.
A pleasant story to watch with some nice moments. Unfortunately most of them were entirely predictable; the lone exception being the final climatic scene (but that was followed by a VERY predictable denouement). While performances were decent all around, the characters were poorly developed. Thus you never get pulled into the story and you never really feel anything for any of them. The obligatory indie-emotional xylophone soundtrack made me feel like the film makers were trying a final gimmick to make me feel something. Throughout the film I kept thinking the writers (Jay & Mark Duplass) were trying their best to write a Charlie Kaufman script. It falls far short of that. Sadly, I just felt like I was watching someone try too hard to make this into something it is not: relevant & poignant.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Well, at least I now know where the TV show Catfish got its music from.
That mystery being solved (*spoilers*), that leaves us with a plot that all really takes place in a single afternoon. And boy, for old Jeff, Who Lives at Home, he seems to not spend all that much time there. I mean he takes the bus to get some wood glue and by the time he comes home with it, he's staked out his sister-in-law and tried to break up a sexing session in a hotel room, he's conspired with his brother to stake out a lunch date, he's been mugged by and smoked out with someone (who probably isn't really named Kevin), and his mom has been turned bi. Pretty normal day for most people...
But, although this movie was fairly banal and seemingly meaningless for the first hour with us really seeing little more than Jason Segel do facial expressions and Ed Helms descend further into self-parody, the end scene was a payoff like rarely seen in cinema these days. With the son who lost his dad too soon (Jason Segel, Jeff) able to follow a series of unintelligible hunches and arrive in a place to save a pair of daughters from ultimately losing their dad was good karmic retribution. The fact that he was able to draw closer to his brother and save his brother's marriage in the process was icing on the cake. As he mentioned about his dream, and as The Smashing Pumpkins put so well, it was all about Today being the most important.
As for the acting, it was OK. Susan Sarandon (Sharon) was a revelation. Everyone knows she can act, but she just never mails it in and I love that about her. Although there was a scene in which she turned bi with just a 30 second phone call followed by the fire alarm being set off at work, that's on the writing not the acting. Jason Segel was pretty good too. Ed Helms (Pat) was his usual poor-acting self, unfortunately.
My main issue about this film was that I'm not sure why they titled this JEFF, WHO LIVES AT HOME. The reasons being that his living at home had nearly nothing to do with the story. He could have been a Wall Street stockbroker and the story would've been virtually the same. And, I'm sorry but older people who "live at home" would never display those heroic qualities of jumping in the drink with no hesitation. Otherwise, he'd be Jeff, Who Works for the Police or Jeff, Who Served in the Army, or maybe Jeff, Who is a Paramedic and Drives an Ambulance. I realize that the director was probably going for an extraordinary deed from an ordinary person, but I'm not buying it.
TL;DR: A pretty solid movie. If you can stomach gratuitous amounts of Ed Helms, you should enjoy this one.
This is a feel good and yet funny comedy that I enjoyed watching
thoroughly. In fact at some points I didn't want it to end because it's
just entertaining to watch how the character interact with each other.
The story is about Jeff who is a bit socially different and lives with
his mom and believes in some comic force and destiny. And is the most
likable character in this movie. He is played by Jason Segel and I
don't know how anyone else could have taken this role. His brother on
the other hand played by Ed Helms is the most practical brother from
the two and is sarcastic about everything that he doesn't feel to be
practical. And the mother of the two brothers played by Susan Sarandon
is dealing with inner problems of starting to dislike his sons and
yearning for a love life. And how it all comes together at the end. It
was just fun how each character deals with their problems, especially
Jeff who is constantly trying to chase his destiny. This is a
thoroughly enjoyable comedy that is worth seeing. It almost made me
want to chase something that is a random occurrence as well, kinda.
I have never seen a movie by the Duplass brothers, so didn't know what to expect going in. If you have strong ties to your family, particularly to your sibling(s), this movie will move you. It is a funny movie that explores a lot of the ups and downs that brothers experience growing up. Ed Helms and Jason Segal play their parts perfectly. Jason, the younger of the two, is the reclusive loner who has not figured out what to do with his life, while Ed the more successful brother (at least from the outside) battles the trials and tribulations of middle age. A nice little side story involving Susan Sarandon and her secret admirer lends a depth to this movie that it would have otherwise lacked. The plot comes together at the end, and you feel for each one of the characters. It is a funny movie that makes you think hard about the people who really matter to you in this world. Hilarious, poignant and moving. Definitely watch this.
"Jeff, Who Lives at Home" is NOT a film for everyone. It is very indie
in style and features mixed up characters who are difficult, at times,
to like. It is far from the sort of thing you'd expect to see from
Hollywood, that's for sure.
Jason Siegal stars as the title character. He's a 30 year-old loser--with no job and living in his mother's basement. He sits around smoking a bong and has little going for him other than, down deep, he is still a very nice person. Much of the film concerns him and his brother, Pat (Ed Helms) who is MUCH easier to dislike. Unlike the optimistic Jeff, Pat is caustic--critical and not particularly nice. Their mother (Susan Sarandon) is frustrated with her life...though she has a hard time recognizing this. By the end of the film, events have taken place that both bring them all together and get them all to reassess who they are.
As you can tell, this is certainly not a traditional plot. It's much more like a typical Duplass Brothers film--with realistic but highly flawed characters that you grow to like in spite of themselves. However, unlike one of their films, they apparently impressed someone with money, as this one has major stars and obviously cost much more to make. Not a brilliant film but there are many, many small moments that you'll appreciate. Also, it starts off VERY slow--stick with this one.
By the way, in a supporting part you'll probably recognize Steve Zissis from anther Duplass film, "The Do-Deca Decathlon".
Dispatched from his basement room on an errand for his mother, slacker
Jeff (Jason Segel) might discover his destiny (finally) when he spends
the day with his brother (Ed Helms) as he tracks his possibly
adulterous wife (Judy Greer).
Roger Ebert called the film "a whimsical comedy (that depends) on the warmth of Segel and Sarandon, the discontent of Helms and Greer, and still more warmth that enters at midpoint with Carol (Rae Dawn Chong), Sarandon's co-worker at the office." And while this is certainly true, there is much more, too...
The film starts with a riff on the film "Signs" (and actually continues that riff for the duration of the movie) but then actually transcends the film it was apparently inspired by. This movie is more fun, funnier, more repeat watchable... and possibly even more touching. While not the perfect film (what is?), it should not have gone under the radar like it did... this had real potential. Have we found the next Wes Anderson?
A film about a mother, her romantically challenged son and her dreaming slacker son, all very lonely and disorganized. The story begins with Jeff (Jason Segel), a 30 year pot head that lives in his mothers basement. Jeff believes that everything is a sign or has a deeper meaning. He receives a mysterious phone call asking for a "Kevin", but he doesn't know a Kevin. He takes this as a sign. He is somewhat philosophical but is viewed as a slacker by his mom, Sharon (Susan Sarandon) and his brother Pat (Ed Helms). Pat is a mono-toned and pretentious salesman. We are introduced to Pat and his wife Linda (Judy Greer) at breakfast. Pat attempts to water the dying flower that is their marriage with breakfast and a not so welcomed surprise, a new Porsche boxster. This sprouts into an argument do to the fact that they don't have the money and that ultimately, Pat made the decision without Linda. Linda vents her frustration by throwing the breakfast onto the car as passive-aggressive Pat watches. We are brought back to Jeff who receives another call and is hesitant, it is his mother Sharon asking him to go out and get a new shutter for the pantry. She really intends on getting her middle aged son out of the house. Jeff than leaves for what is more than just a trip to home depot. He begins seeing signs relating to "Kevin" such as a kid with the same name, he follows the kid resulting in his mugging as well as crossing paths with his brother, Pat while he is at Hooters. The brothers than crash the new car into a tree. Pat pays some people off to not call the police due to the fact that Pat had been drinking. They spot Pat's wife, Linda at a gas station with another man in the car. They proceed to follow her around to find out what is going on. All this is happening while Sharon is at the office receiving hints from a secret admirer over IM. She is excited but also cautious because of her insecurities with her age and her body along with the fear of rejection, or being the butt of a joke. She confides in her friend Carol ( Rae Dawn Chong) as she continues to wonder who the secret admirer is. The movie seems to have a lot of content packed into one day. Jeff and Pat are chasing around Pat's wife, Linda, in suspicion of infidelity. Sharon is desperately searching for her secret admirer who has an inflated importance because of her loneliness. The film feels like a climax to a much longer movie. In the matter of a day we see Jeff conflicting with Pat, Pat conflicting with his wife, Linda and Sharon conflicting with both of her sons and all of them conflicting with themselves. The story results in the saving of lives along with the saving of their own lives. Through a series of traumatic events we find the characters re-prioritize and come together as a family. The climax is what made my rating a 7/10. It felt like everything was happening all at once (in a day) and made it feel pretty unrealistic. The movie than hit the climax which provided an interesting turn in the story. This comedy-drama felt like another Step Brothers (Will Ferrell and John C Reilly) at first but proved to be more of a family drama with a few decently funny scenes. Overall a good film even though I don't feel the need to watch it again anytime soon or really boast about it.
From Indie writer/director brothers Mark and Jay Duplass comes the
movie that was my favorite film of the 2011 Austin Film Festival and is
now available on DVD and On Demand. This quirky comedy stars Jason
Segal and Ed Helms as two very different brothers who are brought
together by fate and strange circumstances.
Jason Segal is Jeff, a stoner who lives in his mom's basement. He strongly believes in fate and that everything in the world is somehow connected and has a purpose. While sitting on the couch getting' high he gets a wrong number phone call from a guy asking for "Kevin". Jeff lets him know that nobody named "Kevin" lives there. He is then berated by a bunch of angry expletives and hangs up. This begins Jeff's journey through the film. He sort of reminds me of another famous slacker named Jeff, "The Dude, or El Duderino if your not into the whole brevity thing" I'm talking about one of my all-time favorite movies "The Big Lebowski" Although this Jeff does have his own style, their outlook on life is quite similar. His mother Sharon is played by Susan Sarandon, an office worker looking for something more in her life as she is starting to feel her age. She ends up finding excitement in the form of a secret admirer.
Ed Helms plays Jeff's older somewhat more successful brother Pat. He is married to Linda (Judy Greer) and has just bought a Porsche without consulting her. Needless to say after dropping this bomb their relationship in walking a fine line. Since they live in an apartment and don't have any kids, Linda suggests that it would be easy to go their separate ways. Over the course of the film, with Jeff's help, he rediscovers his love for her and what he really wants out of life. Finding your place and connecting with family is a big theme in this seemingly dopey comedy.
Taking place over one day Jeff has one job to do. Take the bus to Home Depot and buy a bottle of glue to fix a kitchen cabinet. On the bus he is distracted by a guy wearing a basketball jersey with the name "Kevin" on the back. He thinks this is a sign and follows the guy only to get mugged in the end. This does however lead him to Pat who is spying on his wife. She is having lunch with another man and Pat thinks she could be having an affair. The movie revolves around the brothers relationship and their misadventures. The Duplass brothers have a unique way of making movies that are very real and heartfelt. Although not much seems to happen in the course of the story, you can't help but feel like you been on a journey of discovery with these characters.
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