Ric’s Netflix Picks: “The Puffy Chair”

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“All this Duplass ever wanted was his chair back.

It really tied the room together.”

Josh (Mark Duplass) has found the perfect birthday gift for his father. It’s a comfy, purple recliner; just like the one his father had when Josh was growing up. He orders it on eBay and takes his girlfriend, Emily (Katie Aselton), and brother, Rhett (Rhett Wilkins), on a road trip to pick up and deliver the chair to the brothers’ childhood home. What ensues is an emotional endurance trial as the three must deal with who they are as people and examine where they are going in life.

The Puffy Chair is the third film directed by brothers Jay and Mark Duplass that I have reviewed. This is actually their first feature-length film and is as unpolished as one would expect. Mark Duplass and Aselton play against each other so well; the friction between them feels organic, almost autobiographical. Given that they are now married and have two kids in real life, this makes sense. Wilkins fills the role of awkward black sheep brother quite naturally. I almost had to wonder if he was acting or if he was just being himself. According to IMDB he is not a prolific actor, only having 7 credits, his last in 2006, just after this 2005 release. The Duplass brothers’ actual parents play Josh and Rhett’s parents, making this film a full family affair.

A movie that shows, in retrospect, the directorial potential of the brothers Duplass, The Puffy Chair is a must see for fans of The League and previous Ric’s Netflix Picks Jeff, Who Lives at Home and The Do-Deca-Pentathlon. The film allows you to really see how their style has progressed. Like the two aforementioned movies, the plot is secondary and is merely a loose structure in which the characters explore the issues that plague them. Check out The Puffy Chair to discover the beginnings of their narrative style.

Rating:

3.3 out of 5.0

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