“Everyone and everything is interconnected in this universe. Stay pure of heart and you will see the signs. Follow the signs, and you will uncover your destiny.”–Jeff
So begins this little, indie dramedy starring Jason Segel as the protagonist Jeff, and Ed Helms as his long suffering brother Pat. Jeff still lives at home with their mother (Susan Sarandon), living like nothing matters, and leaving Pat to be the responsible one. But when Jeff recognizes that there’s something more to his life, he sets off a series of events which may or may not lead to disaster for all involved thanks to his further reflections on the movie Signs.
Jeff Who Lives At Home is one of those strange stories that is normal within its own weirdness. There’s nothing too dramatic that happens through much of the story, and we feel as if we are really peeking into Jeff’s real-life life. He’s a doobie-smoking slacker; his mother is widowed and isolated; his brother tries to hard but doesn’t seem to have any impact on his own marriage with Judy Greer’s Linda.
There’s a little bit of the “Parable of the Prodigal Son” here, with Pat as the elder brother. We don’t quite get the impression that Jeff has ever done anything super wrong, but in his attempt to be pure at heart, he’s smoked a lot of marijuana and hasn’t done much “good” that anyone can speak of. And yet, Pat seems to be the one who bears the brunt, as if he should somehow make a better life for Jeff.
In the end, there are a couple of funny moments but this is more drama than anything else. In the overall storyline it’s quite a bit like Simon Birch but we’re treated to something a little less weepy. I wasn’t blown away by the ending, but I was glad I stuck it out through some of the less-than-spectacular scenes that got us there. (Unfortunately, the only bonus to the Blu-ray is the Ultraviolet transfer that allows you to take this one on the go.)
What remains is more a question of how you see your life. Do you believe that we’re interconnected? Do you believe that there’s a purpose, a destiny, and that by a series of choices, you could do something great with your life? I do, but I don’t believe they’re chance encounters or accidents. I believe instead that God has a plan for us that will bring what is best for us as we seek God’s will with all our hearts (Jeremiah 29:11-14). It’s exciting, and seeing the payoff is spectacular!