After taking the Porsche for a joyride that ends with the airbags deploying (don’t ask) later on, Jeff and Pat happen to spot Linda with a guy who’s not, well, Pat, on what looks like a lunch date. And it’s this solitary event that finally kick-starts this threadbare comedy into a seriously madcap gear. With one strange and ill-advised turn of events leading to another, Jeff and Pat are practically forced into some brotherly bonding that reveals something not all that surprising about Jeff, namely that he’s got a better handle on what’s important in life than everyone thinks.

When you’ve got a character this criminally naïve with a perspective on destiny that belies anything resembling rational thought, the right casting makes all the difference. And as this lovable loser, Segel is a perfect match. No matter how crazy things get, you can’t help rooting for the oversized man-boy.

While hardly a perfect film and certainly not everyone’s cup of tea given the questionable content (see Cautions below), there are threads of forgiveness and redemption that elevate it from the usual mumblecore fare. But for anyone expecting more obvious laughs or takeaway that’s deeper than mere fortune cookie wisdom, Jeff, Who Lives At Home will probably seem like just another story featuring another slacker protagonist.

CAUTIONS:

  • Drugs/Alcohol: Social drinking. A discussion on whether someone was drinking and driving. Jeff is shown using drugs in a couple of scenes.
  • Language/Profanity: Expletives, particularly the “f” word, are used throughout, plus there are a few instances where God’s name is taken in vain.
  • Sex/Nudity: A couple of crude references to male anatomy. Pat suspects his wife Linda is having an affair. Linda and Steve check into a local hotel but don’t end up sleeping together. Sharon discovers that her secret admirer at work is actually her friend Carol (Rae Dawn Chong). Both Sharon and Carol say they’ve only been attracted to men in the past but believe that love, no matter where it’s found, is incredibly rewarding. After talking about how great it would be to kiss under a waterfall, Carol sets off the sprinklers at work so she can do just that with Sharon. The kiss is brief, and later on, you sense they’ve started a relationship since Carol is at future family gatherings.
  • Violence: Jeff is beat up and robbed in one scene. Pat crashes his new Porsche pretty dramatically into a tree (neither he nor Jeff sustain any major injuries, though). A father, along with his two young daughters, are trapped in a car that’s sinking to the bottom of the river. Their rescuer almost dies in the attempt to save them.
  • Worldview: While we’re not exactly sure what fuels Jeff’s belief system, aside from the movie Signs that he references on several occasions, Jeff is positive that nothing in life is a coincidence. He believes in destiny, even if he struggles to make sense of his own place in the world.
     

Christa Banister is a full-time freelancer writer, specializing in music, movies and books-related reviews and interviews and is the author of two novels, Around the World in 80 Dates and Blessed Are the Meddlers. Based in Dallas, Texas, she also weighs in on various aspects of pop culture on her personal blogFor more information, including her upcoming book signings and sample chapters of her novels, check out her Website.