andy samburg, ari graynor, celeste and jesse forever, chris messina, comedy, divorce, eric christian olsen, rashida jones, romantic, will mccormack
“Love You, Mean It!”
Grade: A- (SEE IT)
APPARENTLY IF YOU want to play a smart, complicated woman on screen – the kind Hollywood still has trouble conceiving – you have to write the role yourself.
That’s what Rashida Jones did, with a little help from her “Parks and Recreation” costar Will McCormack, to create the breakup comedy “Celeste and Jesse Forever.” Not exactly a romance, Jones’ screenwriting debut is a charming and contemporary take on what’s become as common as matrimony itself: divorce (the amicable kind). This film, which feels fresh and is stuffed with slang, centers on the neurotic Celeste: excessive exerciser, Facebook stalker, pot-smoking author of a book on declining American culture called “Shitegeist.” If Celeste is an irritating character – deceiving herself that she’s actually over her ex – it’s because she feels relatably lifelike.
Directed by Lee Toland Krieger, “Celeste” was filmed in just 23 days for under $1 million. Consequently, the performances have an honest, improvisational inflection as if the actors are actually friends. That’s because they are: Jones and McCormack, who briefly dated in real life, would simulate sex acts using baby-corn and Chapstick when suffering from writer’s block. Here, they have their fictional counterparts (Celeste and Jesse) do the same while in the car and at the wedding of friends Tucker (Eric Christian Olsen) and Beth (Ari Graynor), the latter of whom abruptly leaves a dinner because she objects to the divorced couple’s closeness. There’s nothing but truth-telling in “Celeste and Jesse Forever”; “I go to yoga to meet girls” confesses Celeste’s love-interest Paul (the always dependable Chris Messina). Namaste!
Andy Samburg (“I Love You, Man”) plays Jesse, an oversensitive visual artist living in Celeste’s spare room and suspended in a kind of romantic abeyance while the ink on the divorce papers dries. Ex-wifey is none too happy when Jesse rebounds in a matter of months and, we’re told, “puts a baby in a lady.” When Celeste phones Jesse to help her assemble an IKEA purchase, the two turn to red wine and reminiscing. We all know where that leads. Rewind to when we first met the hipster couple at the film’s opening and we’re not exactly sure what Celeste and Jesse mean to each other as they drive around Los Angeles, cracking inside jokes with their scorched-earth sense of humor. Jesse reminds his soon-to-be-ex-wife that she dislikes the sight of architect Frank Gehry’s Disney Hall, that blasted tuna can of a landmark and an important metaphor for the couple’s romantic life: open and messy and, well, kinda’ lovely.
I saw the trailer for this a while back and even my horror film lovin’ heart thought it looked liked a good one. Definitely going on my watch list. Great review!
Thanks; two horror films out for you this weekend. Seeing either? Thanks for reading!
If you are referring to “The Possession” and “The Apparition” I saw the latter film last week. Skip rental and go straight to trash it. I want to see “The Possession” but my wife and I have about $30 to our name to last us until Thursday. Maybe next week 🙂
Darn man! Look forward to your review of T.A.
http://jmountswritteninblood.com/2012/08/24/the-apparition/ There ya go!
Somehow I missed this in the movie listings. I’ve seen almost everything else in town though I haven’t reviewed them. Ok Lawless, good but forgettable. Carmen in 3D, awesome, ParaNorman just fun, loved what we learn of the jock. I’ll check out Celeste. Having a hard time reading blogs on small Blackberry screen, time to fix the HTC boulder weighted thing. BTW Colin and your readers check out my 2012 Pride pix on my Facebook – Doreme Wordschat. They’re public so anyone can see them.
Been hearing good things about PARANORMAN; you have me curious about that plotline!