Welcome to the alternative universe in where Marshall never meets Lily.
You think that opening title is a joke…but legit watch this movie and think about it. Think of this film as an alternative universe for Marshall (Segel’s character from How I Met Your Mother), he loses his farther earlier than season 6 (SPOILERS!), he never leaves his native town to go to NYC and never meets Ted or Lily. So what happens to Marshall, he lives in his mothers basement and smokes sandwiches—err, weed all day and waxes poetic about the world around him in a purple haze.
It’s a much more interesting film if you think of it that way.
…but if you don’t and just watch the film for what it is, it’s alright. Its not horrible, its not amazing, but just alright and I feel like that has been the glass ceiling for brother directors Mark and Jay Duplass; who previously were behind the John C. Reilly and Jonah Hill film, Cyrus. Another film that was just alright. The Brothers Duplass, have a knack for riding that line of funny and sincere very well, but just seem to carefully ride that line at a standard and safe 25 mph, instead of maybe breaking the speed limit and go 35…40…hell even 50 miles per hour. A film that fits that motif in my mind is the still very incredible Little Miss Sunshine. A film that perfectly knows what it is and how to deal with the humor and sincere drama it portrays through its characters.
I feel that Jeff just never goes down that route, but sticks to what it knows it can handle. Jason Segel plays a stoner…big stretch? Ed Helms plays a frantic husband on the edge…The Hangover, anyone? The biggest stretch this film takes is with Susan Sarandon, the mother of brothers Helms and Segel and where her story arch goes…but it never goes to the limits it could go, but safely stops any progression almost five minutes after it picks up.
The Brothers Duplass have a really good film in them and I still just think they haven’t made it yet…but the potential is there. For actors performance I actually thought the more interesting part of the film was handled by the really small sub-plot of Susan Sarandon’s character and her secret crush in the workplace. I wont give away the spoiler of who it is, but the tension and excitement Sarandon’s brings to her character once this “cat and mouse” chase of flirting and finding out who it is starts, it’s a ton more interesting than the main plot of Segel’s Jeff looking for his ‘Kevin’ in life or Helms’ marriage problems. Both plots that feel more at home for a television storyline than a big screen story.
I give it a SIX out of a TEN, on the merit of film quality and comedy.
But I also give it a Mah Na Mah Na out of TEN, on the scale of how much more I loved The Muppets’ Jason Segel over Jeff, Who Lives at Home’s Jason Segel!