Starring: Jason Segel, Ed Helms, Susan Sarandon
Director: Jay Duplass, Mark Duplass
Running Time: 83 mins
Jeff, Who Lives At Home is an American film about a lazy, unemployed man named Jeff, who begins to find his true calling in life over the course of one day helping his brother to track down his wife, who may be having an affair.
This is an intriguing little comedy-drama. Even though its performances aren’t mind-blowing and the story’s not that exceptional, it has a uniquely depressing tone to it that is simultaneously uplifting, which made for one of the weirdest and surprisingly effective atmospheres I’ve seen in a long time.
So, what do I exactly mean by that? Well, it’s a little hard to put my finger on directly, considering the main theme of the film, about fate and finding your true calling in life, is a pretty abstract one, however the way that the film is genuinely both fun and inspiring as well as hopelessly depressing is absolutely fascinating.
The story follows Jeff and his brother investigating his brother’s wife, who might be having an affair, and as the story goes on, you begin to realise that Jeff and his brother are beginning to recognise the true meaning of their lives, which is the uplifting part, but are doing so through really depressing and desperate ways, as they get into all sorts of other problems just like that.
Beyond that, we also see their mother in a detached storyline going through a similar period in her life, and although the occasional switching between the two very separated stories (apart from that main theme) feels very awkward, what drives that well is that it has a really good mystery that keeps you interested every time it pops up in the middle of the main story.
The main issue that I have with this film is that, despite its successful creation of a unique atmosphere, it still doesn’t make for a compelling watch. Sure, the main theme is pretty interesting, but with relatively just decent performances, and an occasionally slightly pretentious subtext, it’s a little underwhelming once it’s all over, given that the fascinating atmosphere promises a great emotional pathos and drama that you never really get.
Overall, though, this is still an intriguing independent comedy-drama, with a brilliantly unique atmosphere, but it just doesn’t have the most wholly engrossing plot, nor the best performances, and that’s why it gets a 7.1 from me.