Jeff, Who Lives at Home: Duplass Brothers Direct Jason Segel and Ed Holmes

The Duplass brothers (Jay and Mark), who have given us such original and low-budget indies as “The Puffy Choir” (2005), “Baghead” (2008), and “Cyrus” last year, are trying to broaden the commercial appeal with their new comedy, “Jeff, Who Lives at Home,” a tale of two eccentric brothers, played by the gifted Jason Segel and Ed Helmes.

World-premiering at the 2011 Toronto Film Fest, the film will be released by Paramount in late March.

When the tale begins, the two siblings could not have been more different.  Jeff (Segel) still lives at home with his mom (Susan Sarandon). He spends his days wearing track pants, smoking dope, and waiting foir “something” meaningful to happen in his life.

In contrast, Pat (Helmes) seems more grounded: He has a steady job and a loving wife (played by Judy Greer, who was so good in Payne “The Descendants”).  But Pat ignores his wife, instead dreaming about and spending his energy on material things he cannot afford, such as a new Porche.

Things change, when one day Jeff sees a TV commercial that features the name Kevin.  Bored and waiting for something to happen, he sees it as a sign from the universe.  Following this cryptic image, he is led to no other than Pat.

Soon, Pat convinces Jeff to help him spy on the presumably cheating Linda in a journey that spirals out of control, leading to all kinds of unexpected consequences.

While the acting, of both the leads and supporting roles, is uniformly good, the writing is uneven, veering from hilariously comic and revelatory sequences to scenes that feel indulgent, sort of time-fillers.

Running time of this picture is only 83 minutes, but sit till gives the impression that the text, which would have made a great short, has been stretched to the limit.

Even so, it’s worth seeing the film for Segel and Helmes, who not only benefit from strong chemistry, but also highlight the complex and complicated relationship–the competition, antagonism, and deep bonding—between brothers, who pretend to be able but cannot really live without being close to each other.