The Puffy Chair

Director: Jay Duplass
Screenwriters: Jay Duplass, Mark Duplass

Institute History

  • 2005 Sundance Film Festival


Josh has found a great present for his father's birthday: a puffy chair exactly like the one his dad used to have. He just has to pick it up from the eBay seller and drive it over for the big surprise, staying over at his brother's house on the way.

Appeasing his neglected girlfriend Emily is not easy, so Josh makes her co-captain of the cruise, and inadvertently acquires another passenger, "Zen" younger brother Rhett. Soon the road trip turns into a comedic allegory of a new American condition—the modern phenomena of people over 30 who did not get past being 15, stuck in spirals of inane kiddy talk and video games. Afraid of commitment and promises, will the three bond in those strange adult ways you learned from your parents, or will they just continue in their immature relationships out of convenience?

The Duplass brothers (Jay directing, Mark scripting and acting) handle these issues with an exciting new vitality. While the film is funny, these are the kind of laughs you get while cringing in your seat, peeking at the screen through your fingers. The documentary aesthetics are used beautifully. If this effortless acting is all scripted, the Duplass brothers should teach sociology.

An impromptu marriage heightens the anxiety as Josh seems to understand the whole world and thus chooses to fail on purpose. A swift first feature, The Puffy Chair establishes two new voices of insightful comedy.

— Mike Plante

Screening Details

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