Jul 29, 2014

Review: Celeste & Jesse Forever (2012)

The romantic comedy is a dying genre. Recent entries in the genre aren't making big bucks anymore despite using known stars. Take Big Wedding which had a budget of $35 million but could only drum up $22 million. Drew Barrymore who is a staple of the genre saw her most recent romantic comedy Going the Distance earn $18 million on a $32 million budget. I'm not going to do a whole bunch of research into this or anything but I feel like there aren't too many high profile rom-com releases these days either.

I think the reason for this is because of people getting tired of the same formula. Studios aren't ashamed of always releasing the same thing because playing it safe is all they know. Why else would we have sequel after sequel anyway. I can understand but it doesn't make for very interesting cinema, that's for sure. I guess there's only so much you can do for a movie between the romance of two characters but still. The standard Hollywood rom-com is like stale bread and that's why a movie like Celeste & Jesse Forever is so refreshing.


Genre: comedy, drama, romance
Directed by: Lee Toland Krieger
Produced by: Jennifer Todd, Suzanne Todd
Written by: Rashida Jones, Will McCormack
Music by: Sunny Levine, Zach Cowie
Running time: 92 minutes
Production company: Envision Media Arts, Team Todd, PalmStar Entertainment, etc
Distributed by: Sony Pictures Classics, Buena Vista International
Country: United States
Language: English
Budget: $840,000
Box office: $3,094,813 (Worldwide)

IMDb entry
Rotten Tomatoes entry

Starring: Rashida Jones, Andy Samberg, Elijah Wood, Emma Roberts, Eric Christian Olsen, Ari Graynor, Chris Messina, Will McCormack, Rich Sommer, Rafi Gavron, Matthew Del Negro, Janel Parrish, Rebecca Dayan



Celeste (Rashida Jones) and Jesse (Andy Samberg) are the perfect couple. They met in high school, became friends and eventually got married. It's the picturesque high school sweetheart affair that sadly ends with Celeste leaving Jesse. They're still good friends and have an arrangement that has Jesse living in the guest house whole Celeste occupies the house. Jesse has it in his mind that Celeste and him will get back together even while he does do start seeing some other women.




The way in which Celeste & Jesse Forever opens is funnily clever. Celeste and Jesse are on their way to a dinner with some old friends while being extremely intimate friends themselves. I guess that's the best way to put it. Their friends bring up how weird it is that they're both so close and then you the viewer also end up feeling the same way. I guess that's how I saw it but I wasn't actually against them being good friends after their long relationship, despite its weirdness. I just like the switcharoo that the script plays on you. You do know that once they start seeing other people, it's going to get all awkward fast. 

Rashida Jones is the highlight of Celeste & Jesse Forever. She can go toe to toe with Andy Samberg when it comes to the comedic moments and she played the dramatic portion of her role very nicely. It's also pretty cool that she was one of the writers of this movie and just makes me respect her even more. Andy Samberg also gets the job done as do the appearances from Emma Roberts and especially Elijah Wood, who's a very welcome face. 

My complaint of Celeste & Jesse Forever is that there is a glut of comedy. There's just too much and I just feel like it drowns out the nice, dramatic parts. C&JF really does have nice things to say about a relationship between two people who knew each other for a long time. Time is wasted on needless comedy which overstays its welcome even if it is quite funny. The dramatic moments in the film were so nice and very touching. There just wasn't enough time devoted to them.

I can say though that there are some very funny parts however. Celeste & Jesse Forever gets close in creating the perfect marriage between comedy and relationship drama but misses the mark slightly. It makes for a very enjoyable viewing though and I appreciated the depth of the relationship between Celeste and Jesse. There's also great chemistry between Andy Samberg and Rashida Jones. They don't play two dimensional characters living in a scripted universe. It's heartfelt and real as a movie, if just a bit flawed in its over-reliance on comedy.  





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