It is thrilling to watch a movie and find it so ironically close to home but this is what Jeff, Who Lives at Home did to me. It was very familiar for me when the general plot started to involve which was basically from the very beginning. From that moment on things just started piling up and by the end I really saw what I have been, in some ways, always thought about – signs do matter.
Most of you are about to find out something that some of you already know (I use the term “you” as if I know you, and as if there is somebody reading this) and that is my background in education. For three years I dedicated my time to semiotics and cultural studies. For me personally it gave a lot of fundamental knowledge about how things effect people and how context and subjectivity really change things. In more common words, semiotics is a science about signs and their meaning in all the possible scenarios and although I changed the direction of my education this year, I still remember semiotics and signs. And that’s why Jeff, Who Lives at Home was so adorable to watch, because Jeff (Jason Segel) believed in signs!
The whole plot is given during just one day and revolves around this 30 year-old Jeff, his brother (Ed Harris), brother’s wife (Judy Greer) and his mom (Susan Sarandon). He wakes up in the morning, talks about this movie called Signs and gets a call from a stranger asking for this Kevin guy who Jeff doesn’t even know about. But he takes it as a sign, and the whole day becomes about this “Kevin” as a sign of something which he is not aware of yet. Meanwhile his brother has troubles with his marriage and his mom thinks her secret admirer is playing a prank on her.
Can’t really tell more because to be honest, the movie doesn’t have that much happening as far as the complexity of story lines but it all just flows with this enjoyable ease and the fact that Jason Segel is just the cutest thing on screen helps as well. It is a comedy but it is also kind of a coming of age story for Jeff who, despite the fact that his brother thinks his sign-stuff is crazy, still believes in it and continues to follow the signs. I approve of it and in the end of the movie, as all the signs come together, you cannot not think about those things as well.
In case you’ve seen the movie 23, you probably get the general idea of the “sign” thing. If you start looking for it, you’ll start to see it more and more and I guess it was the same with Jeff, although, the movie is far from 23. I had some laughs as well as the moments of recognition concerning the signs. So, for me, as a person of signs just like Jeff, I liked the movie a lot! Besides that, it is refreshing to see a movie with such a simple idea with all its adorable and quirky situations. Those Duplass brothers really know what they’re doing and it isn’t about the big budget attraction or the high speed movie where a lot of things happen. I read couple of reviews and got the general idea, people who appreciate movies see its charm, those who look for “screenplay trash” (something that is just noise and doesn’t add much the the plot but makes the whole movie a bit more messier), thought it was boring and slow. Well people are entitled to their opinion, mine continues to be supporting Jeff and Duplass brothers.
Movie still from Rotten Tomatoes.