Jeff, Who Lives at Home

By Casey Tourangeau

Mailed on January 16, 2013

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Dear Jacob Bryce
Ukelele Soloist

Dear Jacob,

Talk about cosmic connections.

So here's a movie where Jason Segel plays an aimless 30-something named Jeff, who lives at homeā€¦ and spends his days getting high and contemplating the universe's larger mysteries in his mom's basement. This manifests itself in his obsession with M. Night Shyamalan's 2002 sci-fi thriller Signs. Jeff finds beauty in that film's climax, where all the characters' random quirks and past histories play an essential role in saving the day. He wants to believe that his own life is also moving towards a similar moment that will reveal his own reason for existing. Just like in the movies.

After a few unrelated instances involving the name Kevin, Jeff starts to believes he's meant to follow his own set of signs. This begins a day in which Jeff's wanderings, the crumbling marriage of his brother (Ed Helms), and a possible office romance involving Jeff's mother (Susan Sarandon) all lead to an unexpected and satisfying conclusion.

For writer/director brothers Mark and Jay Duplass, this film marks a bit of a departure from their earlier, more improvised works. It still feels loose, but everything is definitely leading somewhere specific. It all comes together so nicely. The character beats pay off; and while the notion that everyone has a role to play in life isn't exactly new, it's presented in an emotionally rewarding way. I thought it might seem a little tidy, but that's allowed to happen in the movies.

And then there I am, reading the closing credits for Jeff, Who Lives at Home, and one of the very last names listed is yours. The last seconds of an American movie about the way life creates connections in unexpected ways suddenly brings up your name.

I know you. I work with you. You sit beside me. We live in Ottawa. It's just like in the movies.

That shit just blew my mind.



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