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Posts Tagged ‘dramedy’

Jeff, Who Lives at Home directed by Jay and Mark Duplass; released in 2012

It’s always hard to judge what you are going to get when you sit down and watch something fronted by Jason Segel. He’s far better than ‘How I Met your Mother’ in ‘Knocked Up’, funnier than ‘Knocked Up’ in ‘I Love You, Man’ and now delivers his most touching performance in the Duplass Brothers latest ‘dramedy’, ‘Jeff, Who Lives at Home’. The character, ‘Jeff’, is a great fan of M. Night Shyamalan’s ‘Signs’, and decides to live his life following the same sort of journey in his home town. On the day the film takes place, he receives a phone call from an unknown man (who has dialled the wrong number!) asking for somebody named Kevin and from then on proceeds to take any path that is led by that name. This results in a mugging, being there to help his brother on more than one occasion and finally, in the totally heart wrenching and uplifting end, discovering what he believes the reason why he has been put on this earth. What struck me most about this film is the sadness. You feel for Jeff’s mum, a woman searching for a new man, who, on the day Jeff goes on a sort of treasure hunt, believes she may have found the person of her dreams. Susan Sarandon does well to encapsulate the life of a tired mother, intent on improving both her sons normal but broken lives. You fully understand the heartache and troubles she has suffered over the years, with the loss of her husband, the lack of self belief from Jeff and the stubbornness of Pat (Ed Helms). All these factors come together to solve the family’s drawn out and unwanted lack of communication. They are able to bridge the gap and connect, with Jeff being the person who has spearheaded the reunion with his overly positive outlook on the world. He had been seen as the one who lacked ambition, who didn’t care but as the years past, he was, really, the one who at no point stopped believing. This is what makes this film a complete tear-jerker. I went into it believing it was going to be a laugh-out-loud comedy but after Jeff’s first knock back, witnessing Pat’s marriage fall apart and Sharon’s continual disappointment, you really want them to succeed and need to them have a better life.  Ed Helms is great as Jeff’s older brother Pat; buying a Porsche has finally put a cherry on the top of his mid-life crisis cake and after the discovery that his wife of a few years, Linda (Judy Greer) may be cheating on him, sends him into a complete meltdown. The only person there to help is the one person he has resented for many years, Jeff. Their brotherly relationship is touching to watch, from the moment Jeff utters anything to do with relationships, Pat points out that he has no leg to stand on in terms of what Pat has been through but when he is the only person who is actually offering any sort of advice, he agrees and when he tracks down Linda, is able to reconnect. I loved this film and was completely moved and surprised by the level of despair and complete heartbreak throughout. Much like the Duplass Brother’s previous work, ‘Cyrus’, you are taken aback by the writing and the total realism of all the performances. I would recommend this film to fans of the directors and the main stars.

9/10