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Film Review: Jeff, Who Lives at Home is Amiable, Say Critics

Posted on the 11 May 2012 by Periscope
Jason Segel and Ed Helms in Jeff Who Lives at Home

Jason Segel and Ed Helms in Jeff Who Lives at Home: Publicity still

The background

Jeff Who Lives at Home is directed by Jay and Mark Duplass, and stars Jason Segel, Ed Helms, Judy Greer and Susan Sarandon. It’s set in Baton Rouge; Jeff (Jason Segel) is 30, and lives at home – he loves M Night Shyamalan’s Signs, a film about alien invasion, and believes that his true purpose will show itself if only he can see the signs. The film sees the characters’ lives spiralling around a sports car and suspected affairs. The Duplass brothers are known for the style of film called “mumblecore.” Critics mostly enjoy it. Watch the trailer below.

 A confederacy of dunces

This is an “amiable comedy,” said Robbie Collin in The Telegraph, which owes a lot to John Kennedy Tool’s The Confederacy of Dunces. The ending, though, is “mildly disappointing.”

Sundance self-consciousness

The Duplass brothers’ direction is “gaining in clarity and volume,” said Peter Bradshaw in The Guardian. This is a “quasi-stoner parable” aboud Jeff’s “odyssey of adventure, meaning and personal growth.” It’s “watchable,” but is “encumbered with a kind of Sundance-indie self-consciousness.” Is it doing anything more than the Harold and Kumar films? It could actually be played as “a dead straight, emotionally choked drama of the cosmic supernatural.”

Old-fashioned movie magic

Ellen E Jones said, also on The Guardian,  that the “suburban Taco Bells and parking lots” provided “a context in which the film’s characters are unhappily at home.” It’s “still amusing to see mumblecore’s trademark naturalism leavened by some old-fashioned movie magic.”

 Winning performances

Segel and Helms are “extremely well-matched”, said The Shropshire Star, and the film is “distinguished by flowing, naturalistic dialog and winning performances from an impressive ensemble cast.”

You’re all wrong – it’s rubbish

Nonsense, said Nigel Andrews on The Financial Times. It’s a “squandering of space, time,” and Jason Segel. It’s “persistent, tireless and annoying.”


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