Jeff, Who Lives at Home
Jeff, Who Lives at Home, 2011, USA
Jeff (Jason Segel) is a 30-year-old man living at home with his mother, Sharon (Susan Sarandon). He spends his days smoking pot and watching Signs, waiting for his “sign” about his life. When his mother sends him out on an errand, he runs into his brother, Pat (Ed Helms). Pat is irresponsible in a completely different sense – he emotionally neglects his wife and purchased an expensive vehicle without talking to her about it first. When the two brothers see Linda (Judy Greer), his wife, with another man, Pat immediately suspects an affair and they spend the day following her.
The film is interesting and has some poignant things to say about fate. Jeff and Pat grow throughout the film, but it never felt unnatural. Both characters were written in a brutally honest way, and we aren’t necessarily meant to like them. Jeff is socially stunted, and naïve, whereas Pat is terribly inconsiderate and, frankly, a dick. It’s difficult to imagine two siblings who are more different and who have such drastically differing values. It made me wonder what happened along the way to put the characters on the paths they went on. How did Jeff and Pat become so different? I ultimately loved how they acknowledged their differences and respected one another for their contrasting personalities and ways of life.
That being said, the film is a bit uneven. I didn’t especially enjoy the first half hour, but the film found its pacing after that, and the last act is fantastic. I was happy to see the subplot with Sharon and her secret admirer wrap up in a beautiful way. When this subplot was introduced, I was skeptical, and had a feeling that I would end up wishing it had been omitted. I’m glad to say that I couldn’t have been more wrong with my initial assessment!
Segel and Helms were perfectly cast. I totally buy Segel as a lost soul desperately searching for his place in life, and Helms was great in his role, as well. I really enjoy Segel’s work and it was great to see him in a film like this one. While there was some humour, I felt like Jeff, Who Lives at Home was more of a drama.
Jeff, Who Lives at Home is available for rental on Netflix!