Jeff (Jason Segel) is a 30-year-old man living in his mom's basement. He doesn't work, and all his mom wants is for him to fix a broken wooden blind. He just wants to smoke a lot of pot and watch his favorite movie, M. Night Shyamalan's "Signs."
Writer-directors (and brothers!) Jay and Mark Duplass are best known as part of the Mumblecore generation, producing low-budget films with amateur actors, using loads of handheld shakycam. They garnered enough attention that they could cast name actors in their 2010 film, "Cyrus." Now, with their new movie "Jeff, Who Lives at Home," they've graduated to even higher-profile fare. There's a reason these two indie-turned-studio-filmmakers are in demand now: They know how to tell a good story, and they do so again with the sweetly comic "Jeff."
Jeff, who doesn't believe in coincidence but thinks everything happens for a reason, figures he can make his own destiny when he heads out to the hardware store to get some wood glue. On the way -- is it fate? -- he runs into into his brother Pat (Ed Helms), and they see his wife Linda (Judy Greer) across the street, getting in a car with an unknown man. So the two set out on the most bizarre and life-changing quest to find out if Linda is cheating.
What really sells "Jeff" is the two leads and its supporting cast. Segel has grown up in comedy and broken out of being a one-trick pony. You can injure yourself laughing at Segel's misfortunes as Jeff, and you will empathize (possibly ) when he's telling his brother he just wants his wacky thought process to be understood. Susan Sarandon as Sharon, the boys' single and very much lonely mother who's longing to feel passionate for something, almost steals the movie.
Greer as Pat's possibly cheating, but possibly misunderstood wife is here to remind us that she is not only good at slapstick comedy, but can also deliver a beautiful yet heartbreaking performance as a lonely wife, desperate to be loved. Ed Helms is known to play the guy down on his luck, but that's because he does it better than most comedians working today. As Pat, you can see in his exhausted eyes that he's just trying to better himself and failing miserably. He wants to succeed and doesn't know how.
"Jeff, Who Lives at Home" is a winning movie from the Duplass brothers, a fascinating look at how sometimes the answers we are looking for are right in front of us.