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STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
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Tragic 1 Star

POSTER ART
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FILM DETAILS
Certificate
15
Cast
Jason Segel
Ed Helms
Judy Greer.
Directors
Jay Duplass
Mark Duplass.
Screenwriters
Mark Duplass
Jay Duplass.
Running Time
82 minutes

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Jeff Who Lives at Home
One stayed in the cuckoo’s nest


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Plot
Feckless 30-year-old Jeff (Segel), a firm believer in synchronicity, heads out to buy some wood glue for his long-suffering mother (Sarandon), only to become embroiled in the marital breakdown of his brother (Helms) and sister-in-law (Greer).


Review
Jeff Who Lives at Home
The Duplass brothers' llast film, Cyrus, assembled a cast of capable and highly watchable actors — John C. Reilly, Marisa Tomei, Jonah Hill, Catherine Keener — and threw them into a partly improvised story about a divorcé whose designs on a single mom are stymied by her stay-at-home son. This time around, the cast is in place, but the deliberately bare-bones plot fails to coalesce into anything resembling a satisfying story.

The oddball title (doesn’t everyone live ‘at home’?) suggests that Jeff is someone who really should have flown the nest by now, and so it proves: as played by Jason Segel, Jeff is a lanky, unemployed man-child seemingly straight out of the Judd Apatow repertory company, of which Segel is a founder member. After an impassioned and amusing monologue about the staggering profundity of M. Night Shyamalan’s Signs, Jeff becomes obsessed with the significance of a phone call asking for someone named Kevin (“What if there are no wrong numbers?” he muses, cod-philosophically), leading him to abandon his wood glue mission to seek out this mysterious Kevin — and, by extension (he hopes), his destiny. Bumping into his exasperated brother Pat (Ed Helms) by chance — or is it??!! — Jeff seems to stumble onto his new purpose. But what is it? Proving that his brother’s wife is having an affair? Or something more significant?

Jeff Who Lives At Home is one of those films that introduces characters you enjoy spending time with — Segel is well within his comfort zone as the lovable lug, while Helms is effective as a petty, prissy asshole — but ultimately finds little to do with them, rewarding the audience’s investment with… well, not a lot. When it isn’t trying to out-zany a French farce, the film meanders as aimlessly as its protagonist, leading to a deus ex machina dénouement which feels contrived and atypically ‘Hollywood’. (It might even draw a few tears.) The fact that it requires a substantial subplot about Susan Sarandon’s secret admirer to fill out its 82-minute running time suggests storytellers who are, hopefully only temporarily, running on empty. Oh, and fellas? That seasick-inducing, 24-style camera work has got to stop.


Verdict
There’s undoubtedly comedy mileage in an irreverent sending up of the Signs/Magnolia school of everything-is-connected philosophy. Despite the calibre of the cast, the Duplass brothers mostly fail to find it.


Reviewed by David Hughes

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Jeff Who Lives at Home
Empire Star Rating

Satisfying

Went into this film with low expectations and i can say that i was pleasantly surprised. There were a few laughs here and there and i thought that it was a nice easy watch, not too challenging but funny enough to keep you engaged. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Li4mC at 10:16, 14 May 2012 | Report This Post


Sorry

No idea why it posts twice. Sorry about that! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by danclay77 at 17:18, 11 May 2012 | Report This Post


You're Wrong

The fact it's a fairly random sequence of events that builds to some kind of satisfying resolution means that, like Signs, it's actually better than 3 stars I feel. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by danclay77 at 16:07, 11 May 2012 | Report This Post


You're Wrong

The fact it's a fairly random sequence of events that builds to some kind of satisfying resolution means that, like Signs, it's actually better than 3 stars I feel. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by danclay77 at 15:21, 11 May 2012 | Report This Post


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