Release Date: August 4th, 2006 (Angelika Film Center ) by Roadside Attractions.
The Cast: Mark Duplass, Kathryn Aselton, Rhett Wilkins, Julie Fischer, Bari Hyman, Gerald Finnegan.
Directed by Jay Duplass.
BASIC PREMISE: Josh (Duplass) goes on a road trip with his girlfriend, Emily (Aselton), and Rhett (Duplass), his brother, to pick up a special puffy chair for his father’s birthday.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: The Puffy Chair starts off as a simple, predictable plot with true-to-life characters and quickly becomes a complex, refreshingly realistic and humorous film. Early in the film, Josh and Emily get into an argument because Josh doesn’t seem to want to have a serious relationship. This bickering continues throughout the second act during a long road trip from New York to North Carolina. Josh intends to picks up a giant, purple puffy chair from his childhood that meant something to his father which would serve as his birthday present. Along for the ride is Rhett, Josh’s less obnoxious brother. Nothing too surprising happens during this road trip in terms of plot, but Josh does unwillingly set himself up for a few minor conflicts which reflect different facets of his personality. For example his stubborn, frugal side is should when he wants to pay for only one person at a cheap motel instead of for three, so he deceptively tries to hide Emily and Rhett inside their van. The plan doesn’t work exactly as he had hoped. Then when he arrives to pick up the puffy chair, it looks badly damaged, so he must frustratingly wait another day to pick it up in better shape. Director Jay Duplass wisely lets the film flow in a natural pace so that you feel like you’re there along with the three characters for the ride. Screenwriter Mark Duplass seems to have a knack for writing a character-driven film with believable, interesting characters that have flaws yet remain oddly likable. None of the scenes feel the least bit contrived or awkward thanks to the smart, unstilted script and convincing performances which never go over-the-top. Even the third act doesn’t lose any of the true-to-life moments and still manages to be thoroughly engaging and absorbing.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: Everyone has to grow up at some point in their life and to face reality, no matter how hard it can be. In a way, the road trip with Josh, Emily and Rhett symbolizes a test of Josh’s maturity. He certainly is an adult, but he has yet to become a “grown up” in the strictest sense because he has not yet mastered the responsibilities of adulthood. Fortunately, he has potential to really change as a person when he realizes this major flaw in a particularly moving scene.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: None.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 0
IN A NUTSHELL: Smart, funny and moving. A true indie gem. Not-to-be-missed!
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)
The "P" Menu