The “Signs” are everywhere . . .
I had seen literally no previews for this film, which is the way I like it, so I had no idea what to expect. There was a bit of a delay getting the movie started, so I was listening to other conversations in the press section, and someone said this film was done by the same team that did Cyrus. I hated Cyrus, I didn’t even post a review, because I felt like I had wasted enough time and energy, just watching that crap. Now, I was worried, but my expectations were low – just don’t suck as bad as Cyrus, I thought, and I will be happy. I was happy, in fact, I felt this film was better than you think it is going to be, but not the best it could be, but still pretty damned good . . . plus, it has Rae Dawn Chong!
It begins with a character, Jeff (Jason Segal), who lives at home with his widowed mother, Sharon (Susan Sarandon) who wants one simple thing from her thirty-something louse of a son . . . go to Home Depot, buy some wood glue and fix the one broken slat on their closet door. She is hard at work, and wants him to aspire to more than smoking pot and other unmentionable things down in her basement. Her other son, Pat (Ed Helms) is the quintessential douche bag. Oh, he has gone places, he is married, has a modest home and a good job, but he is a complete asshole . . . and here Ed Helms steps away from his comfort zone a bit to play a completely unsympathetic character.
His wife, Linda (Judy Greer) just wants their marriage to work, she wants him to communicate, but mostly she just wants the love back. But, back to Jeff, he has seen Signs more than six times, and is convinced that everything happens for a reason. I will spare you his synopsis, but Segal delivers the Jeff character in an odd throwback version of the deluded Joaquin Phoenix. In short, Jeff just REALLY ‘gets’ Signs, he thinks even the film was meant to plot out his own personal destiny. So, when he gets a wrong number, hang up call from someone looking for Kevin, he decides this is it, this is his moment for destiny. Did I mention he smokes A LOT of pot?
Now you just get to sit back and watch this adult idiot follow all the signs that lead up to his destiny. But, as the film progresses, is it really his destiny, or is it his brother’s, or his mother’s? Or is he just completely stoned off his ass and winds up in Sri Lanka selling souvenir cups to tourists at the duty-free shop? I’m not spoiling that bit.
Jeff, Who Lives at Home is a nice visit to the theater, it is highly interactive and an enjoyable journey, that actually has a great message whilst seemingly having no message at all. On a side note, Cyrus was also about a single mother dealing with an odd son – are the brothers Duplass dealing with some angst here? But, where Cyrus went wrong, was the oomph factor, I kept waiting for it to just get a little bit better, and it never really did. On the other hand, Jeff, Who Lives at Home has the same pulse throughout, and I found myself constantly chuckling, never laughing so hard it hurt mind you, and when Jeff realizes his destiny at the end, I would have made that scene more intense, but it would have changed the whole feeling of the film. Go see, this little nothing film, hanging out the week before The Hunger Games, it will get you thinking and the script has enough color to keep you chuckling to the end.
Oh, and Jeff, don’t get me started on Signs, these aliens travel across the universe to invade a planet COVERED in the one substance that is lethal to them . . . water, I mean, come on alien dudes, do some damned research!