Jeff, Who Lives at Home (Paramount)
Rated R for language including sexual references and some drug use.
Starring Jason Segel, Ed Helms, Susan Sarandon, Judy Greer, Rae Dawn Chong, Steve Zissi, Evan Ross.
Written and directed by Jay Duplass and Mark Duplass.
Everybody has one of those relatives, usually a sibling who is a little less than motivated when it comes to entering mainstream adulthood. I'm talking about the guy who lives in his parents' basement, doesn't have a job and doesn't feel compelled to change his situation. Such is the premise for Jeff, Who Lives at Home, a movie about a nowhere guy who finds his purpose in life through an unlikely string of events.
Jason Segel plays Jeff, who lives in his mother Sharon's (Susan Sarandon) Baton Rouge basement, filling his days with a lot of TV viewing and bong sucking. Jeff's favorite movie is M. Night Shymalan's Signs, which inspires the slacker to believe that everyone has an unseen destiny, or purpose in life - he's just patiently waiting for his.
Meanwhile, Jeff's jerk of an older brother Pat (Ed Helms) is having marital troubles with his wife Linda (Judy Greer), especially after Pat buys a Porsche against her will.
One day, Jeff gets an errant phone call from an angry man who wants to speak to a man named Kevin. Jeff takes it upon himself to seek out this "Kevin" as he goes on an errand for his mom. His quest leads him to follow young man with the name "Kevin" on the back of a basketball jersey, which leads to Jeff getting mugged. After his unfortunate encounter, Jeff runs into Pat at a nearby Hooters, and the two brothers sight Linda having lunch with a another man. Jeff's quest for "Kevin" signs is slightly altered by Pat's quest to find out if Linda is having an affair.
During the same day, Sharon is intrigued by a series of messages she's been getting from a secret admirer. Sharon's husband (father to Pat and Jeff) has been dead for more than 10 years, his death being the catalyst for much of the dysfunction in the family. Sharon feels her life is nothing but a quagmire that includes a dead-end job, a dependent 30-year-old son, and a bunch of regret, so the idea of a romance appeals to her.
At the end of the day, this mess of a family is led to the same Louisiana bridge, where Jeff does indeed find his destiny.
Jeff, Who Lives at Home is a sweet film with a great story of redemption for a family searching for its identity and the ties that bind them. Despite some salty language, it's a story that should resonate with a lot of families that may be struggling with life's challenges.
Segel provides the perfect performance of a man with a lot of faith, but not much inspiration. Segel's innocence drives the film, but Sarandon's strong performance as a middle-aged woman desperate for a little love should get a little attention when awards are considered at the end of the year.
I know it's early, but Jeff, Who Lives at Home is one of the best films of the year.