The following review is spoiler free and is meant to be read BEFORE seeing the movie, as opposed to the upcoming podcast episode, which will contain spoilers and an in-depth discussion of this movie
In movies like Hot Fuzz, everything has a meaning and a purpose. Everything is a clue, a joke, or both. In real life, there is no such economy of details. Sometimes things just happen. As a matter of fact, MOST times things just happen. Jeff, Who Lives at Home suggests that there truly is meaning behind the mundane events in one’s life.
We meet Jeff, who is currently obsessing over the idea that everything happens for a reason, while also getting high and accomplishing nothing. We meet Pat and Linda, who are clearly in a marriage that is in a rut. We meet Jeff and Pat’s mother, Sharon, who is unhappy with her situation. We meet people who are not where they want to be in life, and we watch them and discover that their situation is of their own making, and they must make some kind of change in order to get themselves out of it.
In many ways, Jeff, Who Lives at Home is a predictable movie. It is certainly easy to have a vague idea of where it is going, yet there is a certain satisfaction in waiting to see if it does turn out the way it feels like it will, and the way we want it to. And what would be the problem in enjoying something predictable if it were also entertaining and fulfilling. Like last year’s 50/50, Jeff, Who Lives at Home deals with some heavy subject matter in a light way, but that is part of its charm. It doesn’t take too many risks, but it doesn’t falter too much, either.