Jeff, Who Lives at Home

[3.5 stars] Jeff, Who Lives at Home (2011) on IMDb [Amazon]

I was kind of prepared for a mindless R-rated comedy. Which would have been fine, but what I got was significantly different, and in a good way. There are some relatively unusual magical-realism elements here, and they kept surprising me.

We follow three main characters going through everyday crises: there's Jeff—he lives at home, by the way—played by Jason Segal. He's trying to find meaning in his life, but (so far) this mostly involves getting stoned in the basement of his Mom's house.

Ed Helms plays Jeff's brother, Pat. Unlike Jeff, he's outwardly respectable, with a job and a wife (Judy Greer), but cracks are beginning to show in his life's foundations, and he's doing increasingly desperate, counterproductive, and crazy things to hold things together. (Like buying a Porsche against the express opposition of his wife.)

And then there's their Mom, played by Susan Sarandon. She's desperately lonely, but also concerned for Jeff, keeps nagging him to (for a change) do something constructive, even if it's only a small home improvement project. She also nags Pat to help out in trying to get Jeff out of his rut. But Mom's also the target of a secret admirer at work, who keeps sending complimentary messages.

Things kick off when Jeff takes a call for "Kevin"; he takes this as not a simple wrong number, but as a sign from the Universe that will point him toward redemption. Misunderstandings, coincidences, and slapstick follow. It's very funny, at the same time kind of sweet.

Last Modified 2012-09-21 10:16 AM EST