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'The Puffy Chair'

Mark Duplass in The Puffy Chair
photo: IDP Film

Josh (Mark Duplass) is a confused fuckup whose indie-rock career is dead. But despite his aura of shaggy-dog doofusness, Josh's girlfriend, Emily (Kathryn Aselton), remains attracted to him and wants to join him on a road trip to deliver a La-Z-Boy recliner to his father. But their relationship may be on the skids. Enter Rhett (Rhett Wilkins), Josh's sanctimonious nature-boy brother, who joins them in the van for a fraught journey from innocence to experience. It may not seem like much, but The Puffy Chair works. Duplass and his brother Jay have written a script that's bold in its simplicity. Like Funny Ha Ha, Andrew Bujalski's casually raw 2002 faux–cinema vérité indie about a bunch of shiftless twentysomethings, The Puffy Chair uses simple, unadorned dialogue and intimate, off-the-cuff performances to get at the underlying issues. It's three people trying to figure out themselves and their lives, trying to get what they want without knowing what they want, or what they have. The ingenious ending wakes us from a dream in which we had unknowingly become complicit.


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