Jeff, Who Lives at Home may be you

By Crystal Gleeson

If you happen to be 30 years old and are reading this while seated at your parents’ kitchen table, mid-spoonful of your mom’s delicious meatloaf, don’t be offended if you identify with the “loveable-loser” protagonist in Jeff, Who Lives at Home.

I’m going to point out the obvious here and tell you that this movie is about a man named Jeff who still lives at home with his parents — I bet you didn’t see that one coming. “Cool story, bro,” you might say, sarcastically implying that the subject matter of the film is far too simplistic and dull to possibly make for an interesting movie or story. But let’s face the cold, hard truth here — everyone knows that one person with seemingly no direction in life who continues to mooch off their parents. And truth be told, we’ve always been curious about them, maybe even inquisitive regarding what goes on inside their heads as they chow down on Mom’s meatloaf. Jeff, Who Lives at Home takes viewers into the mind of a 30-year-old man patiently awaiting the universe’s deliverance of his purpose.

One may think that the character of Jeff, played by How I Met Your Mother’s Jason Segel, was difficult for the actor to relate to. Segel asserts, however, that he too knows what it’s like to be a “loser.”

“I had a really unpleasant out-of-work period from like 22 to 25 where I was just waiting around — and I was smoking a fair amount of pot during that period as well. You’re kind of bopping around and you have a sense that your destiny is to do something.

“[My destiny] was to be an actor, but I was waiting for the world to present that opportunity to me — and so I was able to relate back to that period.”

Mark Duplass, one half of the film’s directorial team, categorizes the movie as a “tragic comedy, which is that comedy that is rooted in inherently seemingly sad situations.”

Despite the pathetic nature of the film’s title character, humour is not sparse throughout the film. This can be attributed, of course, to the impressive roster of funny actors — Ed Helms, Susan Sarandon and Judy Greer all make appearances — but also to script improvisation. In fact, according to Duplass, “the take you see in the film is actually . . . about 50 per cent different from what was in the script, because we kind of crafted this thing in the moment and that’s 100 per cent the spirit of collaboration.”

So, basement-dweller, finish that meatloaf and mark March 16 on your calendar. Not only is that the day you can first see Jeff, Who Lives at Home for yourself, but perhaps it will also mark a day of change for you.


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