Josh (Mark Duplass) and his girlfriend Emily (Kathryn Aselton) try to save their relationship by taking a road trip to pick up a chair purchased on eBay. The dynamic shifts when Josh's brother (Rhett Wilkins) decides to join them.
Big question: Can this low-budget comedy-drama from director Jay Duplass and his writer/star brother Mark add something to the discussion of men being reluctant to commit?
Catch it: The effortlessly poignant "The Puffy Chair" is more honest than "The Last Kiss," more insightful than "The Break-Up" and more relatable than "Little Miss Sunshine." As the trip is dictated by Josh's tight funds, Rhett's impulsiveness and Emily's desire to settle down, the movie's basic story comes alive with rich characters and pitch-perfect performances.
Skip it: If worn furniture only reminds you of the old, dusty junk stinking up your apartment.
Bottom line: Speaking equally to cynics and romantics, "The Puffy Chair" is an aching, understated treasure that vividly captures two people who just aren't clicking anymore. The movie is so small you could fit it in your pocket, and so real it hurts.
Bonus: Proof that onscreen road trips can actually be taken without encountering crazy hitchhikers, rancid food or exploding vans! How encouraging for anyone who can still afford gas.
Matt Pais is the metromix movies producer.
'The Puffy Chair'
Running time: 1:22. Opens Friday at Landmark's Century Centre Cinema, 2828 N. Clark St.; 773-509-4949. MPAA rating: R (for language).Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times