Movie One Hundred Fifty Four
Jeff, Who Lives At Home is the story of a man who is looking for signs of what his life was destined for.
The opening scene has Jeff (Jason Segel), a seemingly ambitionless thirty year old living at home, talking into a tape recorder detailing the movie Signs and how he really thinks everyone has signs in their life pointing them to their destiny. Jeff answers a (seemingly) wrong number from a man asking for “Kevin” and Jeff takes this as a sign that he needs to find Kevin. His mother, Sharon (Susan Sarandon), calls from work and tells Jeff the one thing she wants for her birthday is for him to fix a slat on the pantry door. Jeff ventures out into the world to help his mom but his real goal is to find Kevin. He runs into his older brother, Pat (Ed Helms), a seemingly successful married man, whose life is actually in ruin and Jeff follows his signs to his real destiny.
I really want to praise Jeff, Who Lives at Home because it is a film with so much heart but unfortunately the entire film I was so incredibly distracted by the camerawork. If you read my review of Hunger Games, you may recall that I find excessive use of shakycam to be totally superfluous and I can’t stand it. Unfortunately, for seemingly no reason at all, Jeff, Who Lives at Home is shot entirely in this fashion, which may not be distracting on its own if it wasn’t coupled with zooming every 5-10 seconds. Literally that often, I wish I was being hyperbolic. Because of this I couldn’t give my full attention to liking the characters and their personal motives for their lives.
The characters here are actually quite well-written and I think we all know people like Jeff, people that we may look down but have more heart than anyone around them. Jason Segel plays this role perfectly and I was actually reminded a lot of his role as Nick in TV’s Freaks and Geeks. I also adore Judy Greer, who plays Pat’s wife fed up at Pat’s insistence that buying himself a Porsche is more important than buying a house.
Commonly categorized as “mumblecore” Jeff, Who Lives at Home seems like the Duplass brothers wanted to branch out and have something larger but then held back. The story is there, the story works really well, actually. Other than my abhorrence of the way the film was shot, I have few complaints looking back on Jeff, Who Lives at Home and I would still recommend it.
I give it 3 ketchup streams out of 5.