Jeff (Segel) is the typical twenty something slacker who smokes pot all day and lives in his mom Sharon’s (Susan Sarandon) basement. Stoned, he answers a call from someone looking for a Kevin. Clearly just a wrong number, or maybe a message of something more, he wonders. He reluctantly leaves the couch to run an errand for his mother and sees a guy with a jersey spelling “Kevin” on the bus. He follows him. On a separate part of town is Pat (Helms), Jeff’s somewhat distant big brother, who struggles with an unhappy marriage and a knack for irresponsible decisions. As fate would have it, they end up at the same place at the same time. They fight and try to separate until Pat comes to find out that his wife (Judy Greer) is seeing another man behind his back.
In an intertwined yet separate story is Sharon who struggles to find out the identity of a new secret admirer. Along with work friend Carol (Rae Dawn Chong) they narrow down the possibilities but eventually leading nowhere, Sharon’s loneliness takes ahold of her. The film takes many unexpected twists, but in the end all is exactly as it should be.
The film’s simple, quiet moments are often the most touching and memorable. A scene involving Sarandon, her admirer and sprinklers was in fact called one of the most romantic scenes ever on film by notable film critic Elvis Mitchell who attended the screening. And while the film isn’t in itself completely original, its many unexpected occurrences keep it fresh and interesting at all times. The Duplass brothers have really proven once again how subtlety can elevate a mere comedy into a statement piece rather than just a series of cute events.
While Segel and Helms were their usual charming selves, it is truly Susan Sarandon who steals the show in a role that is of seemingly lower importance than the brothers’ interaction, yet holds the most surprising depth. The film really plays with the idea of fate and signs versus simple coincidences. Yet it is no coincidence how well-crafted this film is and how meticulously everything is brought together. Jeff Who Lives at Home will be in theaters on March 2nd of next year. Make sure it has been added to the latest “must watch” list.