Celeste and Jesse Forever
Hollywood’s got a new found tendency to give romantic movies a smidge of realism and I quite like it. While Celeste and Jesse Forever might like to think of itself as more truthful than most, it’s still an altogether cosier affair than such downers as Blue Valentine, Like Crazy and Take This Waltz.
You wouldn't know to look at them but Celeste (Jones) and Jesse (Samberg) are in the middle of a divorce: they're still best friends who hang out and go to dinner together. However, the time has come to move on - partially because friend Ari Graynor and workmate Wood bang on about their set-up being weird, which it is. So Jesse asks the talky yoghurt-stand girl out while Celeste goes on a string of messy dates with Chris Messina's pushy yoga guy.
With his handheld camera, extreme close-ups and out of focus shots, director Krieger lends the proceedings a certain edginess, but the style forces the issue. Celeste and Jesse's differences are more subtle than that. Unusual for a rom-com, a love rival (Rebecca Dayan) isn’t played as bitchy or prissy, and it also doesn’t mind lobbing in some unexpected turns that your regular rom-coms wouldn't dream of. This can be so nice and likeable it’s almost cruel to point out its flaws. But I will anyway.
The title suggests that this is a two-hander when in actuality it's rather Celeste heavy, which is understandable seeing as Jones co-wrote the script with stoner co-star Will McCormack. In the scenes on her tod, Rashida Jones relies on the tired, weird sex/mom-obsessed guy stereotype to get the laughs. When he’s not on screen, the movie misses Samberg as the two enjoy some real chemistry. They're so tight, in fact, that we're left to guess why they're splitting up at all; they don’t get into that side of things. Sure, his lack of ambition is brought up but it's hardly grounds for divorce and this unaddressed issue creates a massive hole, bang in the middle of the movie. Elijah Wood and Emma Roberts meanwhile are stuck in going-nowhere roles.
Despite its problems this rom-com deserves a nod for sticking to its guns
Review by Gavin Burke | 13:48 | Wednesday 28th November 2012 | Movie Review