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FILM REVIEW: Jeff, who lives at home

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Jeff, Who Lives At Home

DIRECTOR: Jay and Mark Duplass

CAST: Jason Segel, Ed Helms, Susan Sarandon and Judy Greer

CLASSIFICATION: 13 LD

RUNNING TIME: 83 minutes

RATING: 3 stars (out of 5)

Helen Herimbi

Seeing the name Jason Segel alongside a movie title doesn’t exactly inspire you to take a few Twinsaver tissues into the cinema.

Known for comedies like Knocked Up and the bromance I Love You, Man, Segel isn’t usually pegged as an actor who can do more than keep you in stitches. Even if he’s doing something serious, something inside you wants to laugh.

But in Jeff, Who Lives At Home, Segel is different. For one thing, he practises some restraint and never sets up the joke for the viewer. His stoner character, Jeff, is more hopeful than high and more than anything, in this role, Segel is endearing.

Jeff is the stereotypical out-of-work 30-year-old who smokes a lot and stays in his mom’s basement. He’s also a firm believer in signs, being compassionate and everything working out for a reason. This, of course, annoys his family no end.

His mom, Sharon (Sarandon), is a widow who can’t seem to get through to her youngest child as well as she has to his brother, Pat (Helms). But she is so consumed by her loneliness and disappointment in Jeff that she doesn’t know that Pat and his wife, Linda (Greer), have their own problems. The honeymoon phase is long over when Linda is caught cheating on Pat. More than anything, it’s the ego of the control-freak that is Pat that takes a knock when he and Jeff chance upon Linda talking to a stranger.

The younger sibling is a gentle giant who shrinks whenever Pat expresses anger about his brother being a bum. But when it’s time to stand up for Pat, the giant’s claws come out.

Essentially, Jeff, Who Lives At Home is a surprising feel-good movie that tackles breakdowns – of marriages and mental states, and breakdowns experienced when approaching old age alone. It’s funny without being over the top and moving in some parts. And it shows Susan Sarandon wearing “normal” rather well.

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