I’ve never been a fan of the Duplass brothers’ work, as their films are often drenched in sentimentally and adhere to a lot of the failings of quirky indie comedies. Jeff, Who Lives at Home is an improvement on their past output, but still falls into some of those aforementioned trappings. When the movie starts off with references to M. Night Shyamalan’s Signs, you know you’re in for something offbeat. More than anything, I wish the directors would get their finger off the zoom button. It’s unnecessarily used far too often, and serves as more distraction than style.
The cutesy series of escalating events start taking on familiar beats as a character will spot something in the far distance that draws their attention, causing them to follow or chase after it. The action keeps moving throughout Jeff‘s runtime, though somehow it feels as if nothing particularly significant is occurring. As the film reaches its climax it becomes overwhelmed with melodramatic flourishes that will likely play well to the faith crowd. Even with my cynicism, I enjoyed the ending, regardless of how easily it could be seen coming.