So I should've written up THE PUFFY CHAIR years ago, but looking back at 2010, and realising that CYRUS was the movie I loved the most, prompted me to finally get round to doing it. That and being snowed in, wondering whether my Christmas vacation was going to be cancelled. It's amazing how much crap you get round to doing - filing your pay-cheques, organising your sock drawer (literally), and writing up old film reviews....
THE PUFFY CHAIR is basically a relationship movie set up as a road trip. Two brothers and a girlfriend drive from New York to their parents house in Atlanta to give their father the gift of a new lazyboy chair. The elder brother is caught in a bind with a highly dramatic needy woman. The younger brother happens upon a woman he likes. And both brothers are struggling with the nature of their relationship to each other given their wildly differing personalities.
THE PUFFY CHAIR is the kind of movie I normally hate, given that it's characters are slacker/hipster/moany/whiny twentysomethings who are basically pretty privileged but spend their time stressing about what life is all about and what they are going to be When They Grow Up. BUT the key difference here is that while its characters ARE self-indulgent, the movie IS NOT. And that's a nicety I think many reviewers and message-board-posters have over-looked. I am not disagreeing that the elder brother Josh is passive-aggressive, or that his girlfriend is an irritating drama-queen, or that his brother Rhett is immature and narcissistic. I'm not disagreeing that, like, calling, like, everyone, dude, is, like, irritating. But if you're trying to capture certain people at a certain point in their lives, then maybe this is the reality. And maybe, it's more honest than a Hollywood hipster rom-com like (500) DAYS OF SUMMER or a movie like CLERKS which deals with real frustrations and dilemmas but with a hyper-real set of comedy twists and dialogue that none of us bar Kevin Smith can come up with?
All I can say is that I've met these people and I've been through those phases, and had those uncomfortable midnight conversations about real relationships. So whether or not I'd care to see this film again (probably not!) it was still refreshing and interesting to see it that one time.
THE PUFFY CHAIR played Sundance 2005 and went on limited release in the US and UK in 2006 and 2007 respectively. It is available on DVD.
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