Hilary Bronwyn Gay
Lisa Schwarzbaum
March 20, 2012 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Jeff, Who Lives at Home

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
Wide Release Date
03/16/12
performer
Ed Helms, Jason Segel
director
Jay Duplass, Mark Duplass
distributor
Paramount Vantage
genre
Comedy

We gave it a B

With his large bod, soft features, and air of goofy sweetness, Jason Segel is a natural fit for Jeff, Who Lives at Home, a goofy, sweet comedy about estranged siblings who work their way back to brotherly love in the course of a daylong, very shaggy caper of coincidences. “Live” is almost too active a verb for what Jeff does in the basement of his mother’s house in Baton Rouge, La. He’s a 30-year-old stoner who drifts through his days looking for signs from the universe of what to do with his life while Mom (a particularly lovely Susan Sarandon) holds down an office-cubicle job. Ed Helms is similarly well built — that bulldog stance, those aggressive teeth — to play Jeff’s permanently angry brother Pat. Steady employment and marriage suggest that he’s the more grown-up of the two, but Pat is doing a pretty effective job of screwing up his blessings. (As she is in The Descendants, Judy Greer is a peach at playing the unfairly treated wife.)

The movie is the latest tale of irregular moments in the lives of everyday people from Jay and Mark Duplass. They’re the brothers who began their filmmaking career in the mumblecore corps (The Puffy Chair, Baghead), then stepped up the emotional stakes with Cyrus. Jeff continues and expands the brothers’ maturing interest in the bonds that truly connect people and suggests that the Duplasses are still figuring out what matters, cinematically. Signs point to success in getting there. B

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