Posted January 23, 2012 by Ben Winkley in Films

Jeff Who Lives At Home

Jeff goes looking for wood

goes looking for wood glue, finds the ties that bind.

Early in
this heavy-handed plod through American suburban ennui Jeff, who lives at home,
takes a morning hit from the bong. The resultant fug hangs heavily over this
slight, unsatisfactory film.

played by the ever-amiable Jason Segel,
is 30 and dwells in his Mum’s basement, disconnected with the world outside.
His early morning toke is unlikely to be an unusual occurrence. Addled of mind
as he is, he’s obsessed with looking for pointers to his destiny. This he
picked up from watching M. Night
’s movie, Signs. That
bit where Mel Gibson defeats the
aliens with half-finished glasses of water? Hmmmm.

hero’s reverie is interrupted by two phone calls – the first, a wrong number,
leads him to focus this particular day on finding Kevin. Any Kevin, that’s how
he rolls; the second, from his frustrated mother, sends him on a mission to
find some wood glue.

kitchen cupboard needs putting back together. As does, you know, some other

So Jeff
bumbles out into nowheres-ville (in fact Baton Rouge, but it could be
anywhere). Pretty high but keeping it together nicely, he sees and follows a
guy called Kevin, which leads to him playing some basketball, getting a bit
higher and then getting robbed for the wood glue money.

Jeff runs into his brother Pat, lending some credence to his – underdeveloped –
Theory of Signs. The two are chalk and cheese, of course; Pat is straight,
uptight and has so little class that he thinks nothing of going to Hooters for
a business lunch. Played by Ed Helms
(from the Daily Show and The Office) Pat is a man who knows he’s a dick and
just doesn’t care. The trouble is his wife does care, and she’s having an
office flirtation. As is Mum, a menopausal, desperate Susan Sarandon.

So Mum
and Pat are both miserable, but neither garner much sympathy. Tedious
every-people both, living the lives they’ve sunken into. She hasn’t even been
to New Orleans in 20 years. What the hell? It’s really close! Lighten up,
Jeff’s mum. Together, they all meander along toward the inevitable group hug,
with the brothers working to save Pat’s marriage and Mum pondering an
unconventional route to middle-aged contentment.

Jeff is another notch in Segel’s man-child CV, it’s barely a stretch for him
and the 83-minute running time feels like an eternity.

near as quirky as it thinks it is, this broad-brush social satire lacks teeth
and has nothing new to say about modern, isolated American living.

Jeff, Who Lives at Home should have stayed in his basement.

Ben Winkley