CELESTE & JESSE FOREVER
Celeste (Rashida Jones) and Jesse (Andy Samberg) met in high school, married young and are growing apart. Now thirty, Celeste is the driven owner of her own media consulting firm, Jesse is once again unemployed and in no particular rush to do anything with his life. Celeste is convinced that divorcing Jesse is the right thing to do -- she is on her way up, he is on his way nowhere, and if they do it now instead of later, they can remain supportive friends. Jesse passively accepts this transition into friendship, even though he is still in love with her. As the reality of their separation sets in, Celeste slowly and painfully realises she has been cavalier about their relationship, and her decision, which once seemed mature and progressive, now seems impulsive and selfish. But her timing with Jesse is less than fortuitous. While navigating the turbulent changes in their lives and in their hearts, these two learn that in order to truly love someone, you may have to let them go.
Review by Louise Keller:
With a twist on the rom com formula, the notion addressed by talented Rashida Jones and co-writer Will McCormack, is that in mathematical terms, friendship + sex + commitment does not necessarily equal happiness. The question asked is whether best friends (who were once married) can continue this relationship without the sex and commitment. It's an interesting yet curious exploration, with much of the exposition feeling forced as this contrived story about a married couple who seem to have it all (the same sense of humour, genuine affection for each other and even occasional lust for sex) decide their marriage is over, but they want to stay 'just friends'.
Goals, temperaments and ambitions all come into play as Celeste (Jones) and Jesse (McCormack) insist they can continue to be best friends, even if their marriage is over. Although some of the action is infantile and unbelievable, the charm of the characters and a charismatic performance by Jones in particular, allows much of this energy filled, zany love story to zip along, in pursuit of the discovery of self. It's a pity that it's mostly played for laughs, instead of developing situations that might naturally arise from the circumstances.
When we first meet Celeste and Jesse, it is difficult to reconcile that they have been separated for six months. They behave like a couple comfortable with their situation, but their guffaws at restaurants as they share in-jokes like reading the menu in a fake German accent, or jointly stroking and agitating a phallic tube of lip gloss to the point of ejaculation, is beyond the comprehension of their friends and colleagues. As the story evolves, the problem areas become evident. Jesse is happily unemployed and disorganised, whereas Celeste is a goal-oriented perfectionist, who is always right and has an answer for everything in and beyond her job as a trend forecaster.
There are some amusing situation including a series of dating mismatches for Celeste and a subplot involving a brattish pop star Riley (Emma Roberts) whose logo design mistakenly contains x-rated gay references. Elijah Wood is a welcome distraction as Celeste's gay colleague Scott.
As for Samberg, he is like a lovable puppy but his indecisive, soppy character began to irritate me as the film progressed, so it is just as well as the film focuses mostly on Celeste, her emotions, desires and regrets. Jones is terrific, plus there is Veronica (Rebecca Dayan), a pretty brunette with whom Jesse had a secret 'hit and run' affair some months prior.
Will they or won't they (get back together again) is the question we ask ourselves throughout this upbeat, chick flick. Fortunately, the resolution is not that simple and as the journey to wisdom evolves, we learn that while it may be good to be right, it is more important to be happy.
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CELESTE & JESSE FOREVER (MA15+)
CAST: Rashida Jones, Andy Samberg, Ari Graynor, Eric Christian Olsen, Will McCormack, Elijah Wood, Chris Messina
PRODUCER: Lee Nelson
DIRECTOR: Lee Toland Krieger
SCRIPT: Rashida Jones,Will McCormack
CINEMATOGRAPHER: David Lanzenberg
EDITOR: Yana Gorskaya
MUSIC: Zach Cowie, Sunny Levine
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Ian Phillips
RUNNING TIME: 92 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Walt Disney
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: November 29, 2012
RIVERSIDE SCREEN PREMIERES
A program of premiere screenings of new movies prior to their commercial release
on 6 consecutive Tuesdays, starts February 17, 2015 at Riverside Theatre,
Curated & presented by Andrew L. Urban, discussion to
follow with special guests. Briefing notes provided.