There is a new wave of “coming of age movies” pointed very specifically at my generation. No more are we watching 13 year old boys discover sex and the hardships of life. No more are we watching 17 year old girls losing their virginity at prom and learning about heartbreak. These days we are being fed a reflection of ourselves as we age, middle aging, past what we think of as our “growing pain years” but the truth is, we are always growing and in pain for some reason. That’s what Jeff does in a way that is following the trend, showing us our own selves as we are finding our way through life. I suppose with our parents and their parents and their parents and on and on and on back in history just KNEW how to be adults. I imagine they were kids, and saw the hardships and difficulties of bring grown up and then when they got married it was their turn to be GROWN UP with no questions or wondering. These days, post Freudian, post the invention of Psychology, we are now hard wired to examine ourselves. Now, we are a couple generations past the start of this “me me me” stuff and the movies like Jeff, Who Lives At Home really show that shift.
Jeff is a loser, to most of us. He has no job, lives in his mom’s basement, has a very loopy view of life. He sees things that happen as signs of fate, driving his choices from moment to moment. He wonders how things are connected and how his life may or may not have a purpose all intertwined with it all. Our portion of his story kicks off with a wrong number and the mention of the name Kevin. He wants to follow the trail of hints at the name Kevin, wildly blindly, which leads him to his brother. His brother is also a loser type, but of a different variety. He thinks he needs lots of money, move up the management chain at work, treat his wife like an idiot ignoring her needs so he can go have fun with the guys…etc. They are equally annoying, trust me on this. Their mother is just as disappointed in them as I was, she’s lonely, looking for something new in her own life and begins to be flirted with by a secret admirer at work.
The heart of the movie is about personal choices and how they lead us down different paths, good or bad. What do we follow, what society chooses for us like Jeff’s idiot brother? Or do we follow our confused questions fed to us by movies, books, other cultural entertainment and offerings, like Jeff? At some point I think we all should examine ourselves and how we affect other people, what we contribute to this world. This kind of movie is that examination, but with some comedy tossed in for enjoyment reasons.
I enjoyed the movie, laughed a few times, and overall had a good time. I found the Jeff character a bit too annoying to care if he made the right choices for his life in the end or not. That always impacts a movie. If I don’t care about the person their end doesn’t intrigue me. I did care about the mother, so that kept me going through the story. Her’s is a bit too predictable, and now that I think of it, the whole thing is super predictable. That might also be where it lost some credibility for me, but for some people it won’t seem predictable.
Even though Jeff didn’t excite me much as a movie, it definitely got me thinking and that is a big deal. What is my purpose? Am I making the right choices? Am I living for other people’s expectations or for my own? The list goes on and on. I just wish that this particular movie wasn’t so stereotypical or obvious about the people and their behaviors. It’s all about making a story that more people can identify with, sure, but sometimes that can make it less memorable.
- Ultraviolet Digital Copy
Cover Art and Menus: 7/10
I do like this cover, now, after looking at it for a week. I didn’t like it initially, and then it grew on me. So, what does that mean exactly? Did I just get used to it, or did I not give it enough of a chance to begin with and then it’s true quality finally kick in for my brain and eyes? I wouldn’t have it in my house as a poster, but I might make a mini version for a collage. If you don’t know, I have a movie collage in the theater room bathroom that has about a hundred or more little cut outs of movie posters….it’s time for a new one, and Jeff’s cover might make the “cut”. 🙂
Audio & Video: 8/10
For a low budget indie type flick Jeff who lives at home has a stunning look to it on Blu-Ray. Filmed entirely on HD digital cameras the image looks clean but not flat and lifeless like some digital efforts. Colors and shadow detail are exceptional and fine detail is evident in the films many close up shots. The only complaint I have is the Duplass Brothers shaky cam camerawork, hopefully they ditch that for the next movie.
Paramount use the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 codec to bring Jeff Who Lives At Home…. Home. And as always with drama/comedies most of the audio is centered and surround speakers are used very little. There is one scene that takes place in a Hooters that uses the surround speakers but mostly this is a very front heavy track.
It’s a fun movie, a little uplifting, no extras to give it more value for the hard earned cash you will be offering up for this entertainment experience. Jeff, Who Lives At Home is a rental for me, if you’re asking. For a truly immersive and satisfying night at the movies in your own home go ahead and give Jeff a try AND add something like Bridesmaids or even Knocked UP (for that grown up comedy coming of age vibe) and enjoy.
Overall Score 6/10