Celeste and Jesse Forever

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Rashida Jones and Andy Samberg in Celeste and Jesse Forever

The title and cutesy-pie Lily Allen-scored opening credits promise whimsical hipster romcom hell, but this anti-romance (and showcase for co-writer and star Rashida Jones) is a spikier, more unpredictable beast. True, its characters are perky, white, well-to-do LA media snobs with nice cars and fairly insignificant problems, but viewers who manage to get past that will find a brisk, insightful comedy with a brace of likeable central performances.

Jones plays Celeste, whose divorce from college sweetheart Jesse (Andy Samberg) is taking longer than it should: they’re still best friends and next door neighbours, and no one knows why they broke up in the first place. But when a one-night stand has an unexpected outcome, Jesse pulls away, leaving Celeste bereft and soul-searching.

There are frustrating things about ‘Celeste and Jesse’: the presence of tired romcom staples like the gay best friend (Elijah Wood), the obnoxious alpha-male sidekick (co-writer Will McCormack) and the wedding speech meltdown leaves the script feeling a little schizophrenic: is it a mainstream Hollywood slushfest, or a knowing comment on same? There’s also a whiff of smugness, particularly in the early scenes.

But these drawbacks are easily overwhelmed by the sheer likeability of the characters. Keeping the focus on Jones pays huge dividends: she’s relatable and sympathetic, even when acting like a snob. Whenever the film threatens to drift into lazy schmaltz she hauls it back pretty much single handed, ensuring that this potentially aggravating comedy remains sweet, smart and very enjoyable.

Release details

Rated: 15
Release date: Friday December 7 2012
Duration: 92 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Lee Toland Krieger
Screenwriter: Rashida Jones
Cast: Elijah Wood
Rashida Jones
Andy Samberg
Ari Graynor

Average User Rating

5 / 5

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1 person listening
Jo

Wow, great script, fast paced, so true to life and the issues around breaking up in the modern world. For a rom com it totally avoids cheese. Loved every minute of it!

Jo

Wow, great script, fast paced, so true to life and the issues around breaking up in the modern world. For a rom com it totally avoids cheese. Loved every minute of it!