Oh, goody, another movie about Lumberus manchildus. Perhaps you know this creature: pudgy and aimless, often pot-addled, always heterosexual. He’s the arrested adolescent recast as one of those dolefully doe-eyed puppy dolls that you buy your beloved on Valentine’s Day—and an obsequious staple of cinema Duplass. In the latest from the sibling filmmakers behind such low-stakes mumblebores as Baghead and Cyrus, the manchild is Jeff (Segel), wayward Baton Rouge, Louisiana, basement dweller and Signs devotee. His lunatic obsession with M. Night Shyamalan’s alien-invasion thriller pays dividends one day when he receives a mysterious phone call about “Kevin.” Jeff, however, doesn’t know anyone named Kevin—hallelujah, it’s a sign!
A sign of what, exactly, remains to be seen. But it quickly becomes clear that Jeff’s asshole brother, Pat (Helms), and his high-strung mom, Sharon (Sarandon), each in the midst of their own respective personal crises, are also caught up in the omnipotent drama. Would that you felt the presence of any guiding hand in the film’s mostly nondescript, if occasionally chuckleworthy, vignettes about a cheating spouse, a secret admirer and the community-comes-together pull of New Orleans—all of which are appallingly photographed in the Duplasses’ trademark Unmotivated Zoom-o-Vision. As is, this semi-improvised feature comes off as a willfully vague exercise that, like its dimwit protagonist, presumes that profundity and enlightenment will emerge from the morass eventually. Er, maybe—or maybe not. Kinda like Signs; only much, much worse.