|Jason Segal & Ed Helms in |
Jeff Who Lives at Home
Neither of these films is really about the primary plot. They have an exploratory realism that articulates some of the unspoken malaise of modern life. In both movies, there is a sense that these characters forgot to pickup life's instruction manual, or that they missed the boat to the exciting life that was promised to them somewhere along the way. What is brilliant about these movies is that they do not purposely explore these themes, they just mirror life, at odd and unexplained moments.
|Jay & Mark Duplass|
A few years ago, a male friend tried to explain to me the pressure to succeed that he felt growing up. He had always been told that he could do anything, and in the midst of all of that pressure, he never figured out who he was or what he really wanted. The power of the Duplass brother movies is that they poke and prod at this strange and wondrous existential angst of the American male. The great irony of our age, they seem to be saying, is that real life is not about the grand or the heroic event or adventure. As John Lennon once sang, "Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans." One might even say that these movie-making brothers are trying to say, "live the life that is before you, it will be more extraordinary than you might expect." Or, in their off-beat style, they are just making movies that they enjoy, and isn't that the point.