You know, I worry sometimes that it’s me—not Hollywood—that is actually the problem. I will walk out of the Cineplex thinking that I must really be getting old and crotchety because that’s the fifth movie in a row that absolutely stank. It turns out, it is Hollywood, after all; and the last five movies I have seen at the Cineplex really did stink. I know that now because this week, I saw Jeff, Who Lives at Home and my faith in humanity—and the film industry—has been restored.
Our story begins with Jeff (Jason Segel), an aimless stoner living in his mother’s basement, extolling the virtues of the underrated M. Night Shyamalan film, Signs. He is desperately searching for meaning in his stalled world. His frustrated mother (Susan Sarandon) wants nothing more than for him to simply get up off the couch. When an obvious wrong number implants the name Kevin in his mind, Jeff begins a pilgrimage with that lone clue. Meanwhile, Jeff ’s brother, Pat (Ed Helms), lives a toxic existence, spewing negativity and getting all the bad karma back in spades. The two men have processed the untimely death of their father as boys in completely opposite ways. But when Jeff ’s journey leads him to Pat—and possibly Pat’s cheating wife, Linda (Judy Greer)—the men discover the universe might have a plan for them, after all.
I use a lot of different adjectives to describe a movie I like: heart-warming, clever, smart, but a word I don’t use very often is wholesome. This movie, despite some mild drug use, is all of the above. It won’t blow your mind, but it is 83 minutes of gratifying cinema.
It's an 8.