Jeff (Jason Segel) is the kind of guy who is just a little too sweet to make it in this life. A sensitive, trusting spirit, Jeff lives at home (duh) with his mother, Sharon (Susan Sarandon), and spends most of his time smoking pot and wandering. He also has an obsession with the movie Signs and makes every attempt to assimilate that movie’s theme, that everything and everyone is connected, into his own life. His brother Pat (Ed Helms) is the exact opposite. A harder man who is always attempting and failing to create a name for himself in business, Pat has little patience for Jeff and his wild ideas about life. Their paths cross one day, however, and soon Jeff and Pat find themselves on a journey together that will lead them both to mutual discovery and an understanding of each other.
Likewise, the narrative takes its cue from the lack of real character development and often seems to be only an afterthought. There are long stretches of JWLAHthat come across as if Mark and Jay had a great idea for a quirky family drama that plays on the idea of everything happening for a reason and then assembled a great cast but forgot to put much energy into creating a real story. There is nothing wrong with the events of the film but nothing much happens. Mixing that with a sense of shallow character development leaves the film to stagnate when it should push forward and as such, JWLAHbecomes a sort of light, fluffy dramedy that could have, and should have been, so much more than what it is. It isn’t a bad movie or unworthy of a viewing necessarily, it just isn’t completely a capitalization on the currency the Duplass brothers have built up to this point. Here’s hoping their next film hits the mark.