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Friday movie roundup: "Jeff" destined to be fun

Published March 16, 2012 10:00 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A guy stuck in the basement is the basis of a movie worth leaving the house to see.

"Jeff, Who Lives at Home" is a gently funny and observant comedy by Jay and Mark Duplass, the sibling writing-directing team behind "Cyrus," "Baghead" and "The Puffy Chair." This movie is about siblings who are opposites: Jeff (Jason Segel), a stoner slacker living in his mom's basement waiting for a sign from the universe, and his brother Pat (Ed Helms), a paint salesman who's a jerk to his wife (Judy Greer) and generally unlikeable. (Mom is played by Susan Sarandon, who has her own subplot going on involving a secret admirer at work.) The Duplass boys send Jeff and Pat on a low-key journey that is both amusing and touching.

The weekend's big movie, in terms of box office, will be "21 Jump Street," a profanely funny update of the '80s cop show that gave Johnny Depp his first starring vehicle. In this update, clueless rookie cops Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) join an undercover squad that infiltrates high schools — and the guys learn the old rules of high-school cliques don't apply anymore. The comedy, directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller (who worked together on the animated "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs"), neatly parodies cop movies, high-school dramas and the very idea of recycling old TV shows.

The Tower is serving up a heaping load of ooh-la-la nudity, in Frederick Wiseman's documentary "Crazy Horse," which goes inside the Paris nude club of the same name. Wiseman and cinematographer John Davey capture the allure of the artfully choreographed nude dances, as the movie also chronicles the behind-the-scenes work that goes into the fantasy. Alas, the only personalities that come through in the film are male ones — the revue's director and the club's artistic director — and there's nothing exploring what the women who perform in the buff think about their jobs.

At the Broadway is "Being Flynn," a heavy-handed drama involving a drug-addicted writer (Paul Dano) taking a job at a homeless shelter — where he encounters his alcoholic con-artist father (Robert De Niro). Though based on a memoir by Nick Flynn (played by Dano), director Paul Weitz's script feels contrived and overcooked. The same could be said for De Niro's hammy performance.

Another local filmmaker gets his movie into local theaters with "Chick Magnets." The comedy revolves around three dorky guys, one of whom (co-writer Josh Putnam) seeks to date an unattainable girl (Heather Meacham). The Cricket missed the screening of director Brian Douros' film — but his colleague Scott D. Pierce saw it, and thought it was awful.

Lastly, there's the Spanish-language comedy "Casa de Mi Padre," which casts Will Ferrell and Diego Luna as feuding brothers who must save their father's ranch from a ruthless drug lord (Gael García Bernal). It was not screened for critics, and is playing at the Megaplex 17 (Jordan Commons) and Cinemark 24 (Jordan Landing).