|By James Sanford|
Jason Segel, Ed Helms and Susan Sarandon bring comic conviction to 'Jeff'
“What do you do in the basement?” asks Jeff’s puzzled mom,
Sharon (Susan Sarandon). “You’re not cleaning it.”
“Do you really want to know?” Jeff (Jason Segel) answers.
“You didn’t like the last time we had this conversation.”
That’s not so surprising since the 30-year-old Jeff is a
pothead, an M. Night Shyamalan fan and one of those “failure to launch” cases
that never got his act together and took it on the road. Consequently, he
remains “Jeff, Who Lives at Home.”
Outside of his comfortable, comforting cocoon, Jeff is not
so much a menace to society as he is an irritation to all around him, including
his brother, Pat (Ed Helms), who has taken on the role of the upwardly mobile,
happily married success story, but isn’t playing it particularly well these days.
While Jeff may be spacey and unambitious, Pat has gone too far in the other
direction, convincing himself that purchasing a Porsche will announce to the
world that he is truly someone to be reckoned with. Linda (Judy Greer), his
quietly exasperated and frosty-eyed wife, does not agree.
When Pat and Jeff team up to learn Linda’s secrets, the movie threatens to turn into broad farce. But, aside from a few detours into slapstick, writer-directors Mark and Jay Duplass shrewdly keep the comedy relatively small-scale and grounded, allowing the performers to power the picture.