jeff who lives at home

Jeff, Who Lives at Home

Jason Segel, Ed Helms, Susan Sarandon

Directed by Jay and Mark Duplass
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 3
Community: star rating
5 3 0
March 15, 2012

The Duplass brothers, Jay and Mark, don’t write and direct indie movies like anyone else. Their characters march to the gently eccentric comic rhythm drumming inside their heads, as in The Puffy Chair, Baghead and the slightly larger Cyrus. The themes are meant to be intuited, not spelled out.

Jeff, Who Lives at Home, being released by a major studio with major names, is still unmistakably Duplass with scripted dialogue that feels improvised. Jeff (Jason Segel) is 30, but still living in the basement of his patient widowed mother, Sharon (Susan Sarandon), smoking weed and waiting to find his destiny, which doesn’t involve more than Mom asking him to buy glue to fix a shutter. Jeff sits on the toilet and fixates on M. Night Shyamalan’s Signs, as if that Mel Gibson film held clues about handling the outside world.

Jeff’s older brother, Pat (Ed Helms), has the supposedly enviable job, home and wife (Judy Greer). But the troubled Pat – exorcising his midlife terrors by buying a Porsche – is convinced that his wife, Linda, is cheating on him and enlists Jeff’s help to catch her in her betrayal.

That ignites the comedy as the brothers play at being private dicks. Sharon has her own adventure at the office when she learns she has a secret admirer. It’s a thin plot. But here’s the magic of the Duplass brothers. With the right actors – and Segel, Helms and Sarandon are beyond wonderful – their films make the small, awkward moments of life resonate with emotional power. The surprisingly big climax, with the characters converging on a traffic-clogged bridge, allows Jeff to reaffirm his faith in destiny. The funny, touching and vital Jeff, Who Lives at Home reaffirms your faith in Jay and Mark Duplass. Their films hit you where you live.

Movie Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    More Reviews »
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories


    The Commodores | 1984

    The year after soul legends Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson died, songwriter Dennis Lambert asked members of the Commodores to give him a tape of ideas. "And the one from Walter Orange has this wonderful bass line," said co-writer Franne Golde. "Plus the lyric, 'Marvin, he was a friend of mine' ... Within 10 minutes, we had decided it should be something like a modern R&B version of 'Rock 'n' Roll Heaven,' and I just said, 'Nightshift.'" This tribute to the recently deceased musicians was the band's only hit without Lionel Richie, who had left for a solo career.

    More Song Stories entries »