Jeff, Who Lives at Home reminds us to look for signs! Awesome.

I think I am in love with the Duplass brothers, Jay and Mark. This is their second movie that has charmed me so completely.  I loved Cyrus and now Jeff, Who Lives at Home joins the love-fest. Is it geeky to say I am ecstatic that I have years of films to look forward to from these guys? As writers and directors I can’t wait to see what other sorts of loveliness they have waiting for me!

It helps that Jason Segel, Ed Helms, Judy Greer and Susan Sarandon are all excellent and perfectly suited for their roles. I have a crush on Mr.Segel–he is cool, funny and warm in all his roles. (Plus, I will always have a place in my heart for him bringing back The Muppets.) He is great as Jeff, the seemingly loser 30-year-old that still lives in his mom’s basement.  He is a mixture of innocent and sad yet has surprising depth and maturity. Helms go against type here by playing the not so likable brother, Pat, and it is refreshing to see him outside of his box.  Greer is an underrated actress–usually playing the sidekick–but she gets a chance to shine here and it’s great.  And Sarandon is always lovely to watch and I think this role is tailored for her. All perfect.

I also have to give a nod to the soundtrack too–it is memorable and the score composed by Michael Andrews is beautiful. I did not realize this is not Andrews’ first good score–I will remember his name now.

What really makes this film is the narrative. Seemingly simple, straightforward and predictable it draws you in. You are caught up in these series of events and find yourself laughing and then crying (sometimes without even realizing). There are some truly magical moments.  Moments that I found my chest tighten and my heart swell. Sounds so cheesy and cliché, but it is the truth.  And isn’t life that way? There a moments that take your breath away. There are times that are magical.  This story reflects that. It reminds us that we can find those moments in everyday situations, if we are not afraid to see the signs.

Thanks Brothers Duplass!  I look forward to what you plan to show me next.  (Actually, it’s The Do-Deca-Pentathlon–can’t wait!)

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The Five-Year Engagement? I liked it.

The Five-Year Engagement is delightful.  It may not be as laugh-out funny as some of the other Apatow productions, but it is a warm, charming and heartfelt story.  What I really liked is how real it all felt.  This is not a standard romantic comedy (which is a good thing) and I could honestly believe in these characters and their dilemma.

Romantic comedies are hit and miss with me.  I like a light, fluffy movie every once in a while but I hate the play by the numbers–meet cute–stereotypical character–ones and enjoy the original–realistic–ones. And Five-Year definitely qualifies as realistic. Instead of showing the courtship and ending with a proposal, here we begin with the proposal and follow what happens after you’ve declared your love and life gets in the way.  It helps that Jason Segel and Emily Blunt are wonderful and have a natural chemistry because the story takes its time and watching them maneuver through obstacles is part of the fun.

Writer/Director Nicholas Stoller (Segel co-wrote the screenplay) goes back to Forgetting Sarah  Marshall territory here–focusing on a light touch.  There are a few raunchy and over the top bits but they do not overwhelm the narrative.  The supporting is good–not great and I think that is the weakest part of the film.  (The talent around the stars always helps to elevate the enjoyment factor.)

Overall I enjoyed my time visiting with these characters.  It may not be the best film out there but it is better than most.  And let us not forget…it is a light, fluffy movie and it’s not trying to be anything more than that.