At this point, I’m starting to suspect there are more than two Duplass brothers.
It’s really the only way to explain their almost absurd level of productivity recently. Since “Cyrus” played Sundance, it seems that there is always something coming out with either Mark Duplass starring or written by them or directed by them, and it’s been a good run for the two of them.
I quite liked “The Puffy Chair,” their early film, but when they made the jump to working with casts that are better-known, they also seemed to hone their craft in a way that is surprisingly at home in the mainstream. Their new film, “Jeff, Who Lives At Home,” is my favorite thing they’ve done, and so of course when asked if I wanted to sit down with them to talk about the movie, the answer was a very easy “yes.”
We spoke in Toronto the morning after they premiered the film, and then we spoke a few weeks ago at a press day they held for the movie. In the time between those two conversations, I’m not the only person who’s been busy singing the praises of the film.
It occurs to me that sometimes, by the time we are two days away from the release of a movie and I’ve done interviews and a review and news pieces and all sorts of coverage, I can find myself simply assuming that anyone reading this has an idea of what the film is, that you’re just as caught up on it as I am. With something like “Jeff, Who Lives At Home,” I shouldn’t assume that. It’s a very unusual film, distinctly funny but serious about its characters, and it tells the story of Jeff (Jason Segel), a 30-something year old guy who lives in the basement of his mother (Susan Sarandon). His brother (Ed Helms) is married, but he and his wife (Judy Greer) are at a crossroads, possibly about to fall apart. Jeff’s inertia is due in part to his decision to live his life according to the M. Night Shyamalan film “Signs,” since he’s waiting for his sign to appear. Everyone thinks he’s an idiot, but over the course of one long day, Jeff becomes convinced that he’s finally found his calling, when all his mother wants is for him to fix the closet door in the basement.
I like the Duplass Brothers in conversation almost as much as I like watching their work, because they don’t feel like salesmen when they’re talking about what they do. They are enjoying these movies, and what I get from them is an excitement about being able to share them with people. They also seem to really love the collaborators they’re working with these days, and it shows in their films.
It’s a big weekend for “21 Jump Street,” and I certainly encourage you to check that one out, but I would also urge you to see if you’re living in a market where Paramount’s opening “Jeff, Who Lives At Home,” because it’s a very special film, and I’d hate to see people miss it this month.
“Jeff Who Lives At Home” opens in limited release today.