Film Review: Jeff, Who Lives at Home

Be warned, this review features some minor plot spoilers about ‘Jeff, Who Lives at Home’

There’s nothing I love more than a film that makes you think once the credits roll. Jeff, Who Lives at Home, written and directed by Jay and Mark Duplass, does just that.

The comedy-drama film follows deadbeat stoner Jeff (Jason Segel) who is obsessed with the 2002 film, Signs. He is convinced that random occurrences will lead him to his destiny. The film begins with someone phoning Jeff’s house asking for “Kevin”, Jeff therefore takes it upon himself to find Kevin.

Jeff’s mother Sharon (Susan Sarandon) is disappointed with his lack of ambition and encourages his brother Pat (Ed Helms) to try and motivate him to do more with his life. Pat, however, is struggling emotionally with his failing marriage to Linda (Judy Greer) and when he randomly bumps into Jeff, they begin to suspect Linda is having an affair. Meanwhile, widower Sharon is pursuing a secret admirer in her office.

Jeff, Pat and Sharon all have their own life-changing moments throughout the day and the climax of the film sees their paths meet. All of a sudden, Jeff’s theory makes sense. It shows that it could be the random events in life that lead you to your destiny.

The plot is, without a doubt, the strength of the film. Whilst Sharon’s storyline is quite boring, Jeff and Pat’s more than makes up for it. The film as a whole, is quite predictable, as soon as you see the opening monologue from Jeff, explaining his love for Signs, you know that the film is going to climax with an event where Jeff’s destiny is apparent, you just don’t know how, where or when.

Jeff's obsession with the film 'Signs' inspires the opening title card, immediately hinting to the audience the film will be about him searching for his destiny.

Jeff’s obsession with the film ‘Signs’ inspires the opening title card, immediately hinting to the audience the film will be about him searching for his destiny.

The acting is brilliant throughout and the characters are plausible. Jason Segel portrays disillusioned Jeff perfectly, with just the right mix of comedy and drama and it is great to see Ed Helms in such a dramatic role. Their performances are so spot on, you believe they are the characters on-screen; it seems so natural, you would believe the whole film is ad-libbed.

Another contributing factor to the film’s high standard is the way in which it was shot. The film has a grainy look, which is stylistically fitting to the feel of the plot and the characters featured. The characters aren’t glamorous and it would take away from the feel of the film if the production didn’t reflect that. However, some of the camera work can be a bit disorientating at times, as it can be quite wobbly and the editing is very choppy, especially in scenes where Jeff and Pat are arguing.

Overall, the film is wonderfully upbeat, moving and inspirational. As long as you’re willing to embrace the eccentric scenarios and coincidences, you’ll love it. It might even make you question some instances in your own life…

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