Friday, March 16, 2012

‘Jeff’ Shows a Twisted Story of Faith


Jeff (Jason Segel) and Pat (Ed Helms) spy on Pat's wife who they
believe may be cheating on him. 
Credits: Indian Paintbrush
Movie: Jeff, Who Lives at Home
Starring: Jason Segel, Ed Helms, Susan Sarandon, Judy Greer and Rae Dawn Chong
Directors: Jay Duplass and Mark Duplass
Genre: Comedy
Rating: R

Jeff (Jason Segel) is stuck. He is 30 years old, unemployed, is a Sci- Fi fan, does drugs and lives with his mother. He isn’t alone though. Ever since his father died about 15 years earlier, his brother and mother are stuck as well. His mother Sharon, (Susan Sarandon) has dated a few times, but nothing serious and is lonely. His brother Pat (Ed Helms) thinks of himself as mature, but would rather buy a new car than work on his marriage with Linda (Judy Greer). By the end of “Jeff, Who Lives at Home,” all will be un-stuck.

Jeff is portrayed as simple-minded believing that everything happens for a reason and is waiting to find his destiny. He receives a phone call from someone looking for Kevin and feels that this is a sign. Could it really be a sign or is it just the marijuana talking? On this same day, it is Sharon’s birthday and would like nothing more than her son to get off the couch, buy some wood glue and fix the decorative kitchen shutter. To make sure that he does it, she enlists in the help of Pat to nag his brother to do this task. From what starts as a simple story, the planets line up or perhaps it is just a series of coincidences that happen to complicate things. Jeff runs into Pat while looking for the mysterious Kevin, Pat runs into Linda who is with a mysterious man and Sharon discovers that she has a mysterious secret admirer.

Though, not on purpose, “Jeff” could take as an allegory for walking in faith as a Christian. At one point, Pat tells Jeff that he wishes that he could be more like him. He doesn’t understand Jeff’s faith. Sometimes Christians wander around like Jeff waiting to hear from God on what to do next. Sometimes we do things that seem crazy to those around us. Sometimes we hear from God, sometimes it maybe be just the pizza we ate at 3 a.m. talking to us. Faith takes trust. Pat can’t see beyond himself and is unhappy. Jeff assures him that he isn’t happy either as he waits to find his destiny. Many Christians can relate to that message as well.

“Jeff” is an odd movie. Many of the characters go to work, but none of them do any actual work. Though it is Sharon’s birthday, her children don’t seem to notice or care. None of the characters seem to know how to talk to each other. Though everything wraps up in the end, the film feels incomplete. The main story is about the two brothers. Sarandon’s side story, is strange and isn’t necessary to the main story.

“Jeff” is a good film. Not great, but good. The first half is very funny while the second half, while still funny, tries a little too hard to be sentimental. Still, if you can get past all of the f-bombs, and the worldly nature of the film, it is quite enjoyable.
(Originally posted on Examiner.com)


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