CELESTE AND JESSE FOREVER – The Review
Now, this is an interesting twist on a film genre. Seeing the poster, you might think that CELESTE AND JESSE FOREVER is another frothy, lighthearted ” rom-com”. You’d be mistaken. This could be called an anti ” rom-com”. Well most of these flicks are about the two main characters meeting cute, having conflict, resolving said conflict and living happily ever after, CELESTE is about a couple who’ve been through all that and then fall out of love. It’s the ” ever after”. The big romance is pretty much covered with a photo montage during the title and opening credits. Ah, but you think ” These two are so adorable, they must work things out”. I won’t say if they do, but I will say that this flick is full of surprises. Kind of like real life, as opposed to movie ” rom-com life.
As I said, by the time the opening credits are done, Celeste ( Rashida Jones ) and Jesse ( Andy Samberg ) are a married couple who have separated. You’d never guess as they tease each other in her car on the way to Dinner with their soon-to-be-married best pals Beth ( Ari Graynor ) and Tucker ( Eric Christian Olsen ). The friendly behavior of C & J freak out B & T. Soon-to-be-exes just shouldn’t behave like that! After their pals storm out of the restaurant, C & R return to her house. Celeste lives in the main house while Jesse lives in the garage/ art studio out back. The guy has little work ethic concerning his art career and can’t seem to get around to signing those divorce papers. But he does start dating which prompts Celeste to make him move out on his own. In the weeks leading up to the big wedding Celeste struggles with her job at a media consulting firm and dipping her toes back into the dating pool while trying to deal with the future ex-husband that’s still her best buddy in the whole-wide world.
I’ve enjoyed the TV work of both actors, so I went into this flick rooting for them. My enthusiasm was severely tested when C & R read aloud ( in exaggerated German accents ) from a Mexican restaurant menu. Well, maybe even earlier as they simulated a sex act on a tube of lip balm in the car on the way there. But the film got back on track and was tougher than the bouncy trailers would let on. What they don’t tell you that even though two names are in the title, we spend most of the film’s running time with Celeste ( Jones did co-write the script, after all ). Jesse’s really short-changed. When they meet up after quite a bit of screen time apart, he’s changed radically. It’s a shame we don’t get to see more of that progress. Instead we get to see Celeste’s dating disasters ( she’s at fault for most of them ). When she does meet nice guy Paul ( Chris Meesina from RUBY SPARKS ), Celeste is such a flakey pill we question his determination. The gal’s got some issues including some frustration at the fact that Jesse’s life is not falling apart after leaving her. A subplot involving one of her work clients, pop-songstress teen temptress Riley ( Emma Roberts ) doesn’t seem to go anywhere and Elijah Wood is wasted as Celeste’s work boss/ gay supportive pal ( even his character mentions this hackneyed stereotype ). Luckily the two stars have enough chemistry and charm to make this story more engaging than it should be. Samberg’s done a lot of great work over the last few years on TV’s SNL, but his film work’s been spotty. This movie gives us a chance to see his dramatic skills. Jones has been stellar in supporting roles on TV ( ” The Office “, ” Parks and Recreations ” ) and films ( THE SOCIAL NETWORK, THE BIG YEAR ) and here, as a lead, she’s able to make the exasperating Celeste fairly endearing. It’s a long trek to the film’s big wedding finale’, but there are a few solid laughs along the way to make CELESTE AND JESSE FOREVER a flawed, but enjoyable ” break-up- com “.
Overall Rating 3 Out of 5 Stars