Review: Celeste and Jesse Forever

Posted on August 19, 2012
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It’s about time we were shown the shoe on the other foot.

Perspective is everything, in films that center around relationships; the trend has always been a sappy story about the guy chasing the girl, screwing it up, and hoping for forgiveness.

Not this time.

Celeste and Jesse Forever is simply about the odd path towards an implosion of a relationship that’s already over.

Pulling double duty by writing the script and starring in front of the camera; Rashida Jones plays Celeste, a pop culture reporter who is still in love with, and living with Jesse. Her ex husband, who are in the process of a divorce.

Andy Samberg plays Jesse; unemployed, disheveled, and living life by the seat of his pants, all while living actual life in the guest house of Celeste’s house.

So why would two people who are best friends, still in love, and living together get a divorce?

While this isn’t your typical romantic comedy, it does follow a familiar blueprint to start; until the divorce thing becomes real. This is where the film takes off and Jones shines like never before on screen. Her portrayal of Celeste, a confused woman juggling a divorce, the dating scene in Los Angeles, and her ex moving on is authentic.

We finally get a film from the perspective of the girl chasing the guy, instead of the other way around. And while I can’t take Samberg seriously in this role, he fills the void. The dramatic scenes that ask Jesse to pour his heart out fall flat and leave Celeste carrying the scenes.

A supporting cast consisting of best friend Beth played by Ari Graynor who is getting married to Eric Christian Olsen who plays Tucker add to the comedy side of things. As do Elijah Wood who plays Celeste’s gay coworker Scott, weed dealer Skillz played by Will McCormack, Emma Roberts as a upcoming pop star in the ilk of Lady Gaga, and Chris Messina as the odd businessman who meets Celeste while at yoga.

But this is all about Celeste.

It’s refreshing to watch the relationship depression phase from a females shoes, from the getting drunk at bridal showers to being completely vulnerable running down the street for the guy instead of the cliche guy running to the airport to profess his love nonsense we’ve seen over and over.

Where the film fails is the first act, setting up the idea of these two people being best friends yet on the verge of a divorce with it not being a big deal at all. And Samberg just doesn’t do it for me, he felt miscast – maybe it was the NBC connection, but his persona outside of this film is one I can’t ignore.

The comedy is on point with Jones being the main provider, whether it’s passing out in the middle of a pool or looking like a crazy cat lady, she is sublime from start to finish.

A well written script with jokes that seem like they would actually be told shouldn’t be this shocking. Regardless if you don’t laugh at every joke, it works because HEY…who laughs at every joke people or friends make?

What Celeste and Jesse Forever really brings to the forefront is that we haven’t seen enough of Rashida Jones on the big screen. She is great on Parks and Recreation, but this proves that she can deliver on the silver screen and anchor and entire production with ease.

With the somewhat recent output of “not-so-cookie-cutter-type” relationship films from Blue Valentine, Like Crazy, and 500 Days of Summer; Celeste and Jesse Forever can take a seat right next to them for daring to be different.

Rating: 6/10

Skip the box office lines and buy movie tickets online at Fandango.