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Jeff, Who Lives at Home - Blu-ray Review

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Jeff, Who Lives at Home - Movie Review

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4 stars

Filmmaking brothers Jay and Mark Duplass have carved out a nice little niche for themselves as a pair of brilliantly creative artists who continue to turn life’s seemingly innocuous little circumstances into finely crafted works of art: a mother trying to cope with her dysfunctional son in Cyrus; young screenwriters writing a horror film in the remote wilderness in Baghead; and driving cross-country to deliver an e-Bay purchased, giant purple lazy-boy in The Puffy Chair.

This time it’s Jeff (Jason Segal), a 30-something mom’s basement slacker who may have discovered his destiny on the way to the hardware store to pick up some wood glue. Via their trademark low-key, low-cost style and character-driven plots, the Duplass brothers (who also wrote the screenplay) turn the simple errand into a magical story about fate versus chance.

Jeff is a guy who firmly believes that if a person pays attention to the signs in the universe, the path to destiny will be clearly highlighted. Ironically, he learns to look for these signs by watching M. Night Shyamalan’s Signs over and over again, pausing only to take the occasional bong hit. Whereas most of us only recognize them as we look back, awestruck at the path we’ve taken, Jeff sees the patterns and clues in life’s everyday chain of events.

A misdialed phone call sets Jeff’s chain of events into motion when, shortly before heading out on his errand, he receives a wrong number call for someone looking for Kevin. Whether it’s the hazy effects of the pot, or his belief in the messages from Signs, Jeff decides there are no such things as wrong numbers, and it’s his mission to find this mysterious Kevin.

But his simple task quickly becomes forgotten when he’s presented with a series of comedic and accidental events that steer his path directly on course with those of his family in the strangest locations and quirkiest circumstances. It’s one of those movies that nearly runs in real-time with the string of events and fateful encounters unfolding over the course of a single day.

Along the way, unemployed but good-natured Jeff meets up with his older brother Pat (Ed Helms) who is his exact opposite. Overachieving and angry, Pat is in the rut of taking his beautiful wife, Linda (Judy Greer) for granted and clueless about her marital unhappiness. Meanwhile Jeff and Pat’s mother Sharon (Susan Sarandon) sees her sons fighting while wondering what happened to her own life that has resulted in her cubicled existence while toiling away at a civil service job. In the tried and true Duplass style, they’re all flawed individuals trying to connect with others who are just as dysfunctional.

As the day’s events continue to unfold, and the paths of all involved continue to beautifully intersect into what eventually ends up a magical climax, we begin to realize that nothing important has really happened, yet funny and interesting things have actually happened as the film paces gracefully forward. While the Duplass fly-on-the-wall style, with hand-held camera and mumble-core dialogue, isn’t for everybody, those who enjoy innovative filmmaking with just the right mixture of subtle comedy and poignantly tender drama will find plenty to love about Jeff, Who Lives at Home. Segal is tailor-made for the role as the sympathetic nature he displays in every one of his characters, plays perfectly into Jeff, who wants to believe in magic and in the universe.  In fact the entire cast is great, including the charming Rae Dawn Chong in a brief but pivotal role.

Some may find the film’s ending a bit overcooked or contrived, but in the service of seeing the characters grow from miserable cads to beautifully rounded human beings, it’ll do just fine. Yes, one guy alone can make those around him understand that innocence and naiveté are sometimes still important human characteristics.

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Jeff, Who Lives at Home - Movie ReviewMPAA Rating: R for language including sexual references and some drug use.
Director
: Jay and Mark Duplass
Writer
: Jay and Mark Duplass
Cast: Jason Segal; Ed Helms; Susan Sarandon; Rae Dawn Chong; Judy Greer
Genre
: Comedy | Drama | Indie
Tagline:
The first step to finding your destiny is leaving your mother's basement.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Are you mad at me because you caught me caught me cheating on you, or are you mad because you're afraid you might lose me?"
Distributor:
Paramount Pictures and indian Paintbrush Pictures
Official Site
www.jeffwholivesathome.com
Release Date: March 16, 2012
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
June 19, 2012

Synopsis: On his way to the store to buy wood glue, Jeff looks for signs from the universe to determine his path. However, a series of comedic and unexpected events leads him to cross paths with his family in the strangest of locations and circumstances. Jeff just may find the meaning of his life... and if he's lucky, pick up the wood glue as well.

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Jeff, Who Lives at Home - Blu-ray Review

Component Grades
Movie

Blu-ray Disc
4 stars

2 stars



Blu-ray Experience
3 Stars

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - June 19, 2012
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; French: Dolby Digital 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1; Portuguese: Dolby Digital 5.1
Discs: 25GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD); UV digital copy

With only a few soft shots marking this nearly flawless 1080p transfer, Jeff, Who Lives At Home is a beauty on blu-ray. The details in the HD image are of an impeccable clarity. The filmic quality is grounded in reality even as the continuous color – eye-popping – catches the viewer off guard with deep reds, solid blacks, and skin tones that are both natural and layered with texture. Fibers in clothing are visible as are the flaws in the face. There is a constant use of the handheld camera and the quick zoom and - once viewers get used to the filmmaker’s naturalistic approach to their narrative - eyes adjust and the marvelous detail of the picture.  This DTS-HD Master Audio track injects a few sonic vibes into an otherwise mellow cruise. Dialogue rules through much of the picture and the lines are nice and clear throughout the entire film.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

Well, in spite of a talented cast, there are no special features.  Paramount has attached an UltraViolet Digital Copy of the movie and that is it.  Shame.

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