Eye For Film >> Movies >> Jeff, Who Lives At Home (2011) Film Review
Jeff, Who Lives At Home
Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode
Jeff (Jason Segel) lives at home. He's 30. He likes weed. You can tell. It's his mother (Susan Sarandon)'s birthday and all she really wants is for him to buy some wood glue and fix a broken shutter. But Jeff is conflicted because he knows that his destiny is waiting for him; he just doesn't know what it is yet.
When one encounters a character whose life philosophy is derived from M Night Shyamalan's Signs, one can choose either to laugh along or to get up and go home. Jeff, Who Lives At Home is not a film for everyone but it has a certain unselfconscious charm that can be very endearing. Its hero's belief that everything has meaning and everything is interconnected provides a natural vehicle for narrative; and though Jeff may be naive, his deep faith in the world and in himself is something everybody could do with a dose of. So when his arrogant, self-centred brother Pat (Ed Helms) has marital problems, Jeff may be the only one who can save the day.
This is a change of pace for Segel (though Jeff is unarguably a muppet of a man) and it allows him to showcase the full breadth of his talent, creating a very full-on character who, beneath his bluster, has a surprising amount of depth. Helms similarly brings humanity to a man who conducts business meetings in Hooters and buys a Porsche whilst his wife is trying to scrimp on the food budget. And Sarandon combines maternal authority with girlish glee as the office worker who has just discovered she may have a secret admirer.
Inevitably, their paths come together in a way that both confirms Jeff's beliefs (without ever going so far as to be beyond the possibility of coincidence) and that plays with the expectations filmgoers have of romantic comedy. The clichés are deftly played for laughs; the sentiment is real.
Without the laughs, some of this sentiment could be a little overbearing, and in places Jeff, Who Lives At Home is undeniably twee. In many ways it is a formulaic story but it has a distinctive character which, if you happen to connect with it, will make it very entertaining indeed.Reviewed on: 23 Feb 2012
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