Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Celeste & Jesse Forever (2012)

Working through a divorce, Celeste (Rashida Jones) and Jesse (Andy Samberg) remain best friends, and they spend an unusual amount of time together. Celeste is a successful and bossy trend analyzer, and Jesse is an unemployed and unmotivated slacker. After an awkward one night stand, Celeste and Jesse’s relationship hits a rough spot. And things become more complicated, when Jesse runs into a woman from his past. Veronica (Rebecca Dayan) only had one date with him, but her unexpected pregnancy forces Jesse to make a difficult decision.

Rashida Jones helped with the screenplay, and Will McCormak is the other co-writer. A lot of the humor feels forced, and most of the time, I couldn’t get into the comedy side of  this one. For example, there’s a running gag, where Celeste and Jesse simulate masturbation on tiny objects (lip balm, baby corn, etc.). I couldn’t laugh, and this particular gag was incredibly lame. But the main characters have a good amount of depth, and the story features some genuine emotional moments. Plus, McCormak and Jones didn’t suffocate the screenplay with a bunch of tired romantic comedy clich├ęs.

Director Lee Toland Krieger’s style is pretty simplistic, but his work behind the camera doesn’t drag this film down, so I don’t have any real complaints.

Celeste & Jesse Forever features a very solid cast, but Rashida Jones easily delivers the best performance here. Celeste can have a good sense of humor, but she’s a pushy and successful woman, with a snobbish superiority complex. When it comes to education and job status, Celeste judges other people, who are beneath her in these areas. But once Celeste realizes her crucial mistakes with Jesse,  you’ll see a more vulnerable and emotional side of this character. Jones really put her heart and soul into Celeste, and her performance is just excellent.

The comedy side of this film feels dull at times, and most of the raunchy humor really didn’t do anything for me. Still, Celeste & Jesse Forever is better than your formulaic Hollywood romantic comedy, with a predictable ending. Celeste & Jesse Forever doesn’t set the bar for romantic comedies. But the story features some good depth and emotion, and for the most part, they avoided the typical and routine cheesy moments (i.e. the big “I LOVE YOU!” speeches, followed by the “we’re going to get back together” stuff). In the end,  Celeste & Jesse Forever is a sincere film about heartbreak, and moving on after a tough separation. It’s a satisfying and refreshing romantic comedy, and Jones is impressive. Rashida Jones proved herself as a leading actress here, and I’m looking forward to more starring roles in the future.

Final Rating: 8/10

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