Channelling the spirit of 80s and 90s indie movies comes Jeff, Who Lives At Home – a delightful little confection from the Duplass Brothers. It’s one of those films that somehow manages to be inconsequential but also resonate for hours after, that skips lightly along yet also swims deep in the bigger subjects of life.
Jeff (the ever-likeable Segel) is the titular Jeff. For various reasons, Jeff’s life has hit a rut and, by choice, he’s mostly housebound where he spends his time smoking, watching M Night Shyamalan’s Signs and philosophising on the interconnectedness of things. The events may be a little related – smoking pot and watching alien-themed allegories on the nature of faith can have that effect – but Jeff is looking at a bigger picture. Sadly, it’s not one that many others can see, particularly Jeff’s slightly obnoxious brother Pat (Helms) and their widowed mother Sharon (Sarandon).
While Pat has enough of his own problems – a rapidly dissolving marriage to Linda (Greer) - Sharon is particularly concerned at Jeff’s general lack of spark and does what she can to cajole him into action. On this particular day, that’s a quest for wood glue. Thanks to a wrong number for someone called Kevin however, Jeff has a quiet belief that his mission has a greater significance than repairing a broken screen door.
Fortunately for the viewer, the truth is closer to Jeff’s vision than a simple quest for wood glue and his freewheeling, Kevin-inspired trip through the city gradually takes on a greater significance and sees him crossing paths with members of his family who are having their own particular challenges this day. It’s a curious little tale that doesn’t really go anywhere yet, as mentioned above, touches on many greater truths and, despite its rather fanciful leanings and philosophising, stays remarkably believable.
It’s delightfully short – 82 minutes – gently amusing and once again shows Segel to be an appealing leading man, while the supporting cast are, as you would expect from that roster, first rate. It’s just… well, it’s just nice, delivering the warm and fuzzies in efficient, understated style. A very easy film to like, and one that packs a deceptive punch.