Jay and Mark Duplass

Best movies: The Puffy Chair (2005), Baghead (2008), Cyrus (2010)

Consider Jay and Mark Duplass as the Judd Apatow’s of the independent world. Like Mr. Apatow, the super-producer behind such smash hits as The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, and Bridesmaids, the Duplass brothers encourage improvisation on their movie sets, drafting lean scripts that leave wide-open gaps for their actors to pepper in original dialogue. Watching the naturalistic banter between John C. Reilly and Jonah Hill in their quietly funny 2010 flick Cyrus, one’s reminded of those scenes in which Seth Rogen, Jason Segel, and Hill shot the shit in Knocked Up.

Are the Duplass siblings’ works as laugh-out-loud hilarious as Apatow’s, though? Not quite, but that’s a byproduct of their preference for more cerebral comedy, exemplified in the slow-paced 2008 horror-comedy Baghead. However, their next effort, Jeff Lives At Home (opening on March 16th, with stars Jason Segel and Ed Helms), has the potential to send them that much closer to Apatow’s league.