The Puffy Chair

The Puffy Chair


Reviewed by: George Williamson

Some films just seem to work; they can have unknown actors, no budget, low quality cameras and you still leave the theatre breathless from the sheer quality of the movie.

Josh (Mark Duplass) and his girlfriend Kathryn (Kathryn Aselton) are going through a rough patch. After several years together, they've reached the what-do-we-do-now point in their relationship. The morning after a quarrel Josh decides to take her along with him on a road trip to pick up a maroon puffy chair - an iconic piece of furniture in his family - for his father's birthday, visiting his little brother Rhett (Rhett Wilkins) on the way. It sounds like the perfect time to iron out their issues and really talk things out. However, when Rhett decides to come along for the ride things become a little more awkward.

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The Puffy Chair is the first feature film from the Duplass Brothers and is a amazing achievement. Everything about the production screams low budget, especially the erratic and slave-to-the-autofocus camerawork, but the dynamic of the group of actors is so strong that it doesn't matter. What would, in any other film, be irritating-screen-shake feels kinetic, almost charged, as though the viewer is caught up in the energy of the players.

Mark Duplass's script knows the pain of a long term relationship that doesn't seem to be going anywhere. Events are portrayed in a realistic and deeply heartfelt fashion, which doesn't stop it from being a very funny film. The interplay between the actors has a warm and sweetly comic feel to it and the dialogue is often darkly amusing, reminiscent of Alexander Payne's Sideways.

Like Clerks and Primer, The Puffy Chair plays perfectly to its talents: raw, naturalistic dialogue and flawless character acting, and, because of this, it is immensely watchable, charming and entertaining.

The Duplass Brothers are a pair to watch and, if given a decent budget, could be producing some incredibly good movies in the years to come.

Reviewed on: 08 Aug 2005
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Surprisingly real road trip movie about a quest to find a piece of furniture.
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Director: Jay Duplass

Writer: Mark Duplass

Starring: Mark Duplass, Kathryn Aselton, Rhett Wilkins, Julie Fischer, Bari Hyman, Gerald Finnegan, Larry Duplass, Cindy Duplass, Henry Barendse, David Parsons, Jose Manuel Alvarado

Year: 2005

Runtime: 105 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US

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