Brothers Jason Segel and Ed Helms
Brothers Jason Segel and Ed Helms

The Duplass brothers (The Puffy Chair, Cyrus) are at it again, whipping up quirk and whimsy into a sweet, insubstantial meringue. There’s hardly a moment that Jeff, Who Lives at Homedoesn’t work hard to warm the cockles and charm us into rueful chuckles, yet a rising odor of twee contrivance taints the fun. Lonely, screwed-up souls flounder about in verging-on-sitcom silliness until magically rescued, redeemed, reunited. The kind of arch indie comedy that likes looking at itself, Jeff wears thin, all surface and not that much heart.
      It’s Mom’s birthday, and all she wants from her 30-year-old stoner son (Jason Segel) is that he shamble up out of his basement-cave, buy some glue at Home Depot and fix a broken shutter. But Jeff, as we learn from his opening monologue, has bigger fish to fry. His oversize, shaggy-puppy mug pressed earnestly into close-up, the eternal slacker aligns himself with the little girl in M. Night Shyamalan’s Signs, whose weird inability to ever finish a glass of water saved her family in the end.
      “All this randomness is leading toward a perfect moment,” our Candide insists, sure that, despite the apparent messiness of his life, he, too, has an important destiny to fulfill. During his day on the road, Jeff never reaches the Home Depot, but, following his own set of apparently random “signs,” our child-man tracks down the Duplass brothers’ brand of fairy-tale order in the universe.

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