After hearing of Cameron’s disappointment at the film ‘Jeff, Who Lives at Home,’ Dustin recounts his own bad experiences with the film and introduces a new column in the process.
As I sat down to write an article today, I was planning to write about Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban’s verbal beat down of ESPN analyst Skip Bayless. Why? There were two reasons; 1. It’s awesome and 2. Skip Bayless is a hack who acts as essentially a shock jock, just spewing the stupidest, most offensive things regarding sports he can think of, while worshiping others like Tim Tebow.
But after suggesting this to my fellow cohort, co-editor Cameron Heffernan, he gave me a better idea in his text back to me. “You should write about how shitty ‘Jeff Who Lives at Home’ is” and all of a sudden, this article was already written.
Sadly, I already knew the unfunny tediousness that the movie provided as a few months back, I took my girlfriend out on a date night and since I work at a movie theatre, we ended up seeing the movie blindly. If you haven’t seen the movie, count your blessings and seek it out at your own risk. If you have seen it, then Cameron, our girlfriends and I offer you our deepest condolences for time and money lost.
Here now is why ‘Jeff, Who Lives at Home’ is the first entry in the ‘Movies That Suck’ Hall of Shame.
- Nothing Happens- The plot follows slacker Jeff (played by Jason Segel; we’ll get to him) as he, shockingly, lives at home with his mom. He is asked by his mom to go get wood glue to fix a shutter that has come loose. As he ventures out to the store to buy the wood glue, he encounters a series of things that he feels will show him his destiny in life. He has this notion due to a serious over-analyzing of the movie ‘Signs.’ Yeah, that M. Night Shyamalan movie where the aliens attack a planet that is 71.1% water, despite their only weakness being water. It’s like if I decided that I could be a cop because I watched “Blue Streak” too many times and the cloud of this awful plot device hangs over the movie from the opening credits. Oh and that series of things he runs into; his shithead brother (played by Ed Helms; again, we’ll get there) and a group of African-American men he plays basketball with and is then robbed by in a scene of head-scratchingly odd racism.
- A Likeable Cast…of Assholes- The two leads in this film are Jason Segel and Ed Helms as brothers who aren’t the perfect picture of family wholesomeness and honestly, it’s hard to care. Let me preface what I’m about to say with the fact that I am a fan of both of these actors, for the most part, I like all of their films and TV shows and find them generally likeable guys. This film completely ignores the strengths of these men. Segel’s Jeff is one giant downer, a perennial sad sack who lacks the sympathy and empathy that we’ve come to expect from his previous work and his public persona. You don’t care if Jeff finds his purpose in life; you just want him to shut up about it, fix the stupid shelf and let the movie mercifully end. Then there’s Ed Helms as Jeff’s brother Pat, sporting a goatee that makes you forget all about his nice-guy roles on “The Office” and in “The Hangover” films. His introduction in the film is him surprising his wife with the news that he bought a new Porsche, while they live in a cramped apartment. His wife is, surprisingly, pissed off and she promptly throws breakfast all over it from the window and then leaves. Somehow, Pat runs into Jeff and they become convinced that Pat’s wife is cheating on him so they follow her around and spy on her while all the wood glue in town just sits idly on shelves waiting to be purchased. They come to discover that she is in fact, seeing someone else, Pat is shocked and betrayed until he finally listens to everyone tell him he’s nothing but a giant, unlikeable asshole that does selfish things while he neglects everyone else. But unfortunately, its 90 minutes of him being a giant, unlikeable asshole doing selfish things while he neglects everyone else before he realizes this. 35 minutes in, you’re no longer watching a movie; you’re running an endurance test.
- Middle Aged Lesbianism? – This next part is not a joke. The brothers’ mom, Sharon, is played by Susan Sarandon and when she’s not on the phone asking Jeff to go buy some glue, she’s being stalked at her office by a secret admirer. She continually consults her co-worker Carol and they speculate about who it could be looking to initiate an office tryst. In what could be the most uncomfortable scene in recent cinematic history, the fire alarm suddenly goes off, flooding the office and forcing all but two from the building; Sharon and… Carol. They then look at each other longingly for a moment, before, engaging in a passionate make out. Yes, Susan Sarandon and the girl from ‘Commando’ that can’t fire a bazooka, begin a lesbian relationship together and sending the last 4 people in the theater to the exit.
- The Critics Opinions are Wrong, Dead Wrong- The whole reason this article exists, is that when my girlfriend and I were looking for a movie to watch on our date night, we saw that ‘Jeff, Who Lives at Home’ has a 78% percent on rottentomatoes.com and also a 6.8 out of 10 on IMDB. We figured, ‘Hey, how bad could this possibly be if the critics and other moviegoers seemed to enjoy it?’ Even reading the new DVD releases, you are filled with the idea that some enjoyment can be derived from this nightmare of a movie. Don’t be fooled.
Perhaps the worst offense this movie has, is that one half of its’ writer/director team is Mark Duplass, who is currently basking in the success of his indie film ‘Safety Not Guaranteed’ and also is one of the stars of FX’s show ‘The League.’ It’s easy to wonder how someone normally so funny can be a part of something as misleading and bland as ‘Jeff, Who Lives at Home’ but that just seems to be the kind of movie it is. The actors go to waste and everyone else leaves just a little more bitter than they were at the start.
Dustin Brewer is a writer and co-editor for hefferbrew.wordpress.com/hefferbrew.tumblr.com. He typically enjoys Jason Segel but after this and ‘the Five Year Engagement’ his patience is wearing thin.