Saturday, August 31, 2013

Celeste & Jesse Forever

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! This Space For Rent.

Celeste & Jesse Forever – 4 out of 5

It’s so rare that I will find a romantic comedy that is both sweet and funny because, usually, they are all the same cookie –cutter story and tired old gags that always involve some sort of montage of wardrobe changes and that scene that involves a lot of girls that, for some reason, end up falling all over each other when the primary girl’s love interest is in the scene (usually, the girls are on a small boat, mysteriously, and they all stand up or they are on a gigantic tandem bike and they fall over...women in romantic comedies lack adequate balance). Not to mention that every romcom ever made has had Lisa Kudrow in it somehow…even the ones that were made before she existed as a person!

Celeste & Jesse Forever tells the tale of a married couple that tries to remain best friends as they go through their divorce. Celeste (Rashida Jones) is a little controlling and judgmental of others but she’s still best friends with her soon-to-be ex-husband Jesse (Andy Samberg); a far less driven and more emotional person than her. While one of them moves on quicker, it forces the other to try and deal with their own unresolved emotions from the ensuing divorce and try to find their own happiness.

Awww, don't look sad, were great in the movie.

Celeste & Jesse proves that it’s possible to have a romcom that not only is refreshing and new in a genre that is usually a tired and lethargic one, but it’s also possible to have a romantic comedy that feels genuine and have some actual heart to it. Writers Rashida Jones (hey, she starred in it too!) and Will McCormack (hey, he was in the film too as a character named Skillz) made something very amusing but heartfelt as well. The characters don’t feel like your sad archetypes you see in every freakin’ romcom and have a quality that makes them appear to be people you would bump into on the streets (and then apologize because you bumped into them...unless you're a dick and you just walked away) and having a terrific cast give authentic performances to back up the pages of the script only added to the realism.

Even the costume department went for realism.  Look at that jacket!  It looks 100% real!
That shit's not CGI, people!

Rashida Jones, other than doing a tremendous job writing the film, is spectacular to watch as Celeste. The rollercoaster of emotions she is experiencing is great and addicting to watch. Even when she is hitting close to romcom cliché territory and is about to do the “I’m going to make an ass out of myself at my friend’s party/bridal shower/parole hearing thanks to the consumption of mucho alcohol,” her performance looks less like a caricature that you would see in a film with Katherine Heigl and more like a person you would actually see breaking down in public when the sadness gets to be too much. Watching her character deal with the life-altering experience of dealing with a divorce and trying to come to the reality that she needs to move on ends up becoming something amusing but striking realistic thanks to a great script and Jones’ amazing performance.

That's how I usually spend my social gatherings I'm invited to.

Andy Samberg is decent as Jesse (actually better than because this role made me forget about That’s My Boy); however, it was clear that this film is more about Celeste’s journey to a life outside of divorce than it was about Jesse’s. While Samberg has numerous funny moments and has even shown that he has the potential to be a decent dramatic actor in the future, he was still difficult to take seriously during the heavy scenes because visions of Hot Rod kept dancing in my head. That being said, I definitely could see that there is the makings of someone who could parlay their comedy career into dramatic roles later on and Celeste & Jesse looked like Samberg’s first step towards that.

Times like these, I like to quote the philosopher Billy Ocean and inform the woman
that is standing at the window to remove herself from the dreamscape and insert
herself into the vehicle.

I guess I could put in a LOTR reference here.
The film also had some great supporting cast that, sadly, weren’t utilized as well as they should. Elijah Wood plays Celeste’s coworker and showed a lot of potential for some humorous and fun scenes between the two but every time it looked like those opportunities were about to happen, the film cut to the next scene. Celeste and Jesse’s couple friends that were getting married in the movie (played by Eric Christian Olsen and Ari Graynor) seemed like they would be a strong force in the story but sort of came and went at various times during the running length. Granted, it would have been nice to see stronger supporting characters make up the background of Jesse and Celeste’s journey towards their new life, this never acted as a hindrance as the film is still really entertaining and heartwarming…and the little we do get of these supporting characters (including Skillz) is still decent and mildly satisfying.

Remember when Eric Christian Olsen was in that Dumb and Dumber prequel?
Neither do I.  What sort of an abomination of a film are you talking about and I'm
not entirely sure it actually exists.

However, I can’t forgive how they wasted Rob Huebel on a character that doesn’t even have a name, doesn’t do anything funny and only has a few lines. Huebel is hysterical and his genius should not be wasted…ever!

This man is worshiped as a god in some countries...well, maybe not but he
totally should be!

Celeste & Jesse Forever exceeded my expectations thanks to a script that is light-years beyond the usual crap that gets shat out in the genre of romcoms. The film is emotional, cute, touching, sweet, funny and heartwarming in so many ways. Add in the great cast giving off great performances and this movie proves to be more than a lame love story that is filled with giggling girls trying on hats set to a lame pop song possibly sung by Katy Perry or perhaps, even worse, a tune from the Black Eyed Peas.

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