Movies We Like
The Puffy Chair
May God bless and keep little indie films (in circulation). Sure, I understand that big budgets and campy plots are great mainstream selling points, but comedy is one thing that had started to become jostled by these guidelines, oftentimes coming out not so great in the finish. The Puffy Chair is awesome because it’s for those who can certainly be amused by what many modern comedies have to offer, but don’t necessarily find them to be funny. This film draws on the hilarity of good intentions and everyday scenarios in a tasteful and unrushed way that is warm and very admirable.
Josh is a good son, equipped with a sort of filial duty when it comes to his relationship with his dad. As a child, he remembers that his father used to adore a certain reclining chair that eventually retired to furniture heaven. While shopping on eBay, he comes across a near exact replica of it and buys it, mapping out a road trip from New York to Virginia with his girlfriend Emily (Katie Aselton). The plan is to pick it up and bring it to his father for his birthday and it's also a chance for them to learn more about each other and bond. While stopping along the way to say hello to his earthy and emotional brother Rhett (Rhett Wilkins), the two find out that they have much in store for their vacation once his brother invites himself along for the ride. In a tangle of morals, passions, and disagreement, the trip turns out to be a redefining slap in the face for all the things Josh thought were true and well. And while the film does take a break from comedy in order to let you get angry in some cases or sad with others, it is absolutely hilarious. If you’ve ever tried to do the right thing and have it all go wrong, leaving you questioning what is right, then this is a comedy for you.
When presented with the chair he purchased after a grueling and ridiculous drive, Josh realizes that he was more or less been ripped off. You'd expect the adventure to be over at that point, but Josh is a stubborn lad. He drops his entire "nice guy" demeanor and develops into a total jerk in order to make things right for his surprise, leaving strain on his already shaky relationship and causing his mellow and righteous brother to try and change the outcome of the entire trip, focusing on his own flaky romantic life and analyzing his brother's. I've been that unhappy eBay buyer and would never dream of buying something that wasn't local, but it is that aspect of entitlement and dissatisfaction that is laughable when it isn't you going through it.
I love it when movies aren't pushy in terms of plot, and it is a great accomplishment if you can take something very ordinary and turn it into comedy. TV shows surrounding the workplace like The Office or ones comically depicting a family come to mind as good examples. There is heart to them and they definitely have their tough moments, but they are also very sweet and play on circumstances that everybody goes through.
The film is a Duplass Brothers film, which is basically an independent family owned production company. Jay Duplass cast his brother and his girlfriend as the leads and his parents as Josh's parents in the film. Upon realizing that, and based on what I saw, it was a bold move that turned out to work well. Josh and Emily are together in real life so the tender parts of the relationship are easy, yet the aggressive parts seemed to have presented a great challenge which both pulled off wonderfully and served as breakout performances for them.
The Puffy Chair is good, clean fun, and suitable for many mature ages despite it being R-rated for language. And while a film shot in the shifty "home movie" style may not suit your comedy needs, I assure you it is well worth a try.