My biggest gripe with the Mumblecore genre, which I've never really expressed in my writings until now, is that it’s more commonly associated with my generation (Y) instead of the films that really should be like; Rushmore, Welcome To The Dollhouse, Ghost World, Half Nelson, Elephant and other films that paint a better, somewhat deeper and slightly more complex picture of people born in the early 80's.
The Puffy Chair gives us the real McCoy, the real thing, the way life and love and romance really, truly are.
If you walked in on the middle of a scene in The Puffy Chair you might think you were watching a documentary along the lines of A Married Couple (ESPECIALLY during the arguments & blow-ups). I know its beyond cliche to talk about how "real" an indie film is but there's a genuine realness to The Puffy Chair that we don't see in many films today. The two main actors in the film (Mark Duplass & Katie Aselton) are married in real life and I imagine some of the heartache, joy, growth, pain & love from their real life relationship seeped in to the film. This goes back to that Cassavetes influence I spoke about earlier. All of his personal work had a serious documentary-like feel. It’s almost as if Duplass & Aselton weren’t even acting. Certain moments in The Puffy Chair felt like b-role footage that we weren’t supposed to see of a real life couple arguing off camera.
The Cinema of John Cassavetes isn't the only appropriate comparison to The Puffy Chair. In 2005 Sideways was its most commonly associated with and/or compared to film. I guess that’s somewhat understandable as both movies are partially comedic, partially dramatic, indie road movies but there’s a clear generational difference between the characters, dialogue & scenarios in both films. For people my age or younger who don’t identify with the wine tasting, vineyard visiting, divorced, mid-life crisis aspects of Sideways, The Puffy Chair is the perfect answer for you.
This is the perfect introduction to the Duplass Brothers' filmography. The only problem is nothing else they've done comes close (in my opinion) so you may be a bit disappointed with their later work. The Duplass Brothers do grow as filmmakers with each movie (I don't wanna totally shit on their post-puffy chair work) but I almost wanna recommend that you watch The Puffy Chair last in order to appreciate it even more. I thought Baghead bordered on being pointless, Jeff Who Lives At Home has its moments and Cyrus, they're first film using actors outside of the mumblecore scene, was ok and surprisingly touching but still not as great as The Puffy Chair.