The Duplass Brothers continue to impress with another independent drama/comedy that manages to diversify itself and cover a lot of ground. Jeff, Who Lives at Home is a quiet comedy with two great comedic actors (Jason Segel & Ed Helms), but it’s also a personal family drama that deals with the general connectivity of life and destiny. Only The Duplass Brothers could conquer all of this in a short 83 minutes and yet they somehow do it with little error and a lot of result. Standing right now Jeff, Who Lives at Home is one of 2012’s best.
Jeff (Jason Segel) is a grown man living in his mother’s basement. The stereotype couldn’t be much worse, yet he fits it effortlessly by sitting around all day, watching TV and eating junk food. When his mom Sharon (Susan Sarandon) asks him to go out and do a simple favor for her birthday Jeff flips out and has a childish tantrum. It’s funny though, because Jeff absolutely loves his mom and his family and cares very dearly about them.
He’s one of those destiny believers. A guy that truly thinks every single thing in this world happens for a reason. Something like a wrong phone call could occupy the rest of Jeff’s day, which is exactly what happens. He gets a call for a man looking for Kevin and Jeff doesn’t live or know anyone named Kevin.
The rest of his day consists of going out into the public and trying to piece together his life. Who is Kevin and what does he mean to Jeff?
Jeff’s brother Pat (Ed Helms) is the complete opposite. Instead of openly accepting life and all that it has to offer he chooses to conform and settle. He’s a depressed individual in the middle of a troubling relationship with Linda (Judy Greer) and instead of sitting down and working things out with her he’d rather ignore the problems and buy a really expensive sports car. He’s also a complete asshole to his mom and brother.
The two come together by chance (or fate?) during a weird chain of events that results in Jeff getting beat up by some kid named Kevin and Pat having some sort of business meeting at the local Hooters (real classy pal). After arguing briefly the two discover Pat’s wife Judy with another man. This takes them on a wild goose chase as they discover the true meaning of life lies deep in your ability to be happy, to love and to take control of your own destiny.
Director’s Mark and Jay Duplass approach Jeff, Who Lives at Home with two different genres of filmmaking. On one hand the film is a quiet comedy that isn’t laugh-out-loud funny, but more of an indie comedy with funny characters that do things that tends to result in laughter. It’s light and yet still effective because of the talent like Ed Helms and Jason Segel.
The two are known for their comedic work, Segel in his weird, almost always nude and drunk comedies and Helms in his obnoxiously safe and prioritized comedies. The two mix things up a little in Jeff, Who Lives at Home, with Segel still playing weird Segel, but a lot more stoned out and calm and Helms playing a much bigger dick, but within reason.
The second genre the film tackles is that of the independent drama. Again, things play out pretty light, but when the mood gets thick you’ll have no problem adjusting and possibly even shedding a tear.
Jeff, Who Lives at Home sneaks up on you with its agenda that’s revealed within the opening seconds of the film. It mentions how everything happens for a reason and that everything is connected, and yet when The Duplass Brothers connect it all at the end you’ll still feel surprised by how they manage to do so. There’s a secret agenda working in the background of the whole film, connecting each and every moment and it pays off during the last 20 minutes.
It’s another example of how great the storytelling is on the indie front. The Duplass Brothers are no strangers when it comes to providing thoughtful comedy and well-scripted drama and Jeff, Who Lives at Home is just proof that they’re getting better and better with each film.
The sincerity between the relationships and the openness on the subject of life and truly understanding how to live it is what got me and for that Jeff, Who Lives at Home is still standing strong as one of my favorites of 2012.
Jeff, Who Lives at Home comes to Blu-Ray with a magnifying 1080p video transfer that captures each and every detail. The film was shot digitally and it benefits from that strongly. Texture and clarity in each and every scene really sticks out, whether it’s a shot of Jeff’s scruffy face or a look at the hot and sunny location of where the film takes place. Everything is sharp and strikingly beautiful.
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is a dialogue lover’s delight. The entire track is mostly centered on the film’s dialogue, but that doesn’t keep the track from remaining balanced and moody. The musical cues keep the back channels alive while the front channels split up the dialogue and interactive sounds. This another prime example of how to take full advantage of a lossless audio track for a film that focuses on talking and not so much action.
For some odd reason the only special feature is an UltraViolet Digital Copy of the film, which can be redeemed via a code found inside the packing. There is no actual bonus features on the disc.
Jeff, Who Lives at Home is a remarkably lovable film that will poke straight at your heart. The characters are great representations of real families out there and the way they intertwine and realize how much they need each other is not only great filmmaking, but splendid acting on behalf of Segel, Helms and co-stars Susan Sarandon and Judy Greer.
The film opens subtle, but keeps on expanding until the touching finale that’ll win you over without a doubt. I have no problem recommending the disc based on the film’s quality and the Blu-Ray video and audio presentation, but it is worth noting that there isn’t an actual special feature to be found on the disc. It’s a bit disappointing, but the overall quality of everything else makes the title a must-own.
This review is based on a copy of the Blu-Ray that we received for reviewing purposes.
Jeff, Who Lives at Home is a touching dramedy that'll send you home satisfied. Ed Helms and Jason Segel provide two equally dramatic and comedic performances and The Duplass Brothers keep the film character driven and quick.