(director/writer: Jay Duplass; writer: Mark Duplass; cinematographer: Jay Duplass; editor: Jay Deuby; cast: Mark Duplass (Josh), Kathryn Aselton (Emily), Rhett Wilkins (Rhett), Julie Fischer (Amber), Bari Hyman (Motel Lady), Gerald Finnegan (Puffy Chair Salesman), Larry Duplass (Dad); Runtime: 85; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Mark Duplass; Roadside Attractions; 2005)

It’s a silly road movie, but its heart’s in the right place.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

This pioneering mumblecore comedy is the debut film by the writer-director team of brothers Mark and Jay Duplass (“Baghead”/”Cyrus”), from New Orleans, with Jay directing. It’s a silly road movie, but its heart’s in the right place. Dejected failed twenty-something NYC rocker, working as a booking agent for indie rockers, Josh (Mark Duplass), sets out on a cross-country trip to give his Atlanta-based father (Larry Duplass) a birthday gift in person. On eBay, the aspiring rocker buys dad a puffy vintage Lazy Boy recliner that online looks just like the one from his childhood but when seen in person is a mistaken purchase. His emotional needy girlfriend, Emily (Katherine Aselton, Josh’s g.f. in real life), is along for the ride, after Josh apologizes for their latest spat and takes her along knowing she wants to go. Also going on the ride, after an impromptu visit, is his obnoxious younger brother, the dim-witted New Age fake hippie Rhett (Rhett Wilkins), who insists on making the trip even if not wanted. The droll comedy emerges from their road misadventures, their awkward threesome scenes, a misguided motel stay where they try to claim only one is staying in the room overnight, and how kinship and love left them so many disappointing moments to overcome. The idiosyncratic comedy got increasingly annoying, but it had a strange indie feel that never left it without some charm to go with its genial performances.

The Puffy Chair Poster