Movies that receive limited screenings are generally well-received and sometimes even win awards. I, for one, love these types of films. Especially, the ones that make you feel good about yourself in the end. The Duplass brothers have struck another hit with "Jeff, Who Lives at Home" (which I will be referring to simply as "Jeff"). This film is a stupendous romp in the life of it's jobless, smoking, lazy title character as he goes on a life-changing adventure while changing the lives of his brother, his mother and several others in the process.
While Indie films usually feature relatively unknown actors and actresses, the Duplass brothers chose to have rather popular stars in this film. Now, that isn't really a bad thing, but it does offer a few doubts. Could these actors pull off a sophisticated film such as this one? If I recall, star Jason Segal's last film was "The Muppets" (that ones for another day). Luckily, I am glad to say that every star in this film gave some of their best performances in their respective careers. Segal as Jeff, was perfect. Jeff is supposed to be a very down-to-earth, lazy, pot head, who lives in his mother's basement but still come off as lovable and sort of an intellectual. Segal manages to pull this off brilliantly and he is surly one of the highlights of the movie. Ed Helms plays his brother who is stuck in a rather strained marriage, and Helms portrays that character nicely as well. Every role is done with the utmost care that I really cared for these characters and genuinely saw myself in them. Few movies can pull off this technique, yet "Jeff" did it wonderfully.
The plot itself is split into 3 side stories. One for Jeff, another for his brother, and another for their mother (whose role I will get into later). Each story sort of interconnects in a way that each character grows from the experiences he or she received from these events. While Jeff's brother is suffering, Jeff is seeking signs that point him toward his destiny (a destiny heavily associated with people named "Kevin"). All the characters interact in hilarious and downright brilliant ways. The supporting cast is magnificent as well. What I loved the most however is in the end when everything sort of comes together; that is something I enjoyed so much.
Now, this is a great film, but there were some notable flaws. I felt that Susan Sarandon's story (a widowed mother trying to find out who is her secret admirer) wasn't all that necessary. Sure, it was a very nicely executed plot line but it did not really have that much of an effect on the main story. It just kind of sat there. I was also a bit unimpressed with some of the extras. Early in the film, Jeff meets several people who lead him on his main goal. While the concept is nice, these extras weren't that great. They felt bland and, while they did not need to be fleshed out, they're performances weren't anything special.
I also loved the humor this movie had. Some of the jokes were hilarious and I found myself blurting out laughing at times. Aside from that, the tone of "Jeff" was handled lovingly. The small, sentimental scenes where Segal and Helms bond in brotherly ways had me smiling and really brought out my heart. The movie is very sweet and makes one think about the things Jeff says too.
Overall, "Jeff, Who Lives at Home" is a great indie flick that is sure to make the viewers feel better about themselves. The characters are lovable, the jokes are funny while also leaving room for the more sentimental parts, and the stories are woven tight. I'd say "Jeff" is a film no one should ever look down upon. Granted, it may not be for everyone, but it is still worth a good looking into. 8/10