Celeste and Jesse Forever
- Rob Carnevale
- 5 December 2012
Rashida Jones and Andy Samberg star in an intriguing take on the well-worn romcom genre
A couple of years ago Hollywood posed the question of whether a man and a woman could be friends without the question of sex rearing its head (No Strings Attached, Friends With Benefits). In Celeste and Jesse Forever, writers Rashida Jones and Will McCormack ask whether it’s possible for two people to stay friends post-marriage break-up.
The ensuing film is often as humorous as it is intelligently observed but it also tests the patience at points, especially in its depiction of the central characters. As things unfold, Celeste (played by Jones) and Jesse (Andy Samberg) appear to be the dream couple, such is their ease with one another and flirty tendencies. It’s only when two friends intervene to call things weird that the true picture begins to emerge. The question thereafter is whether Jesse and Celeste will realise they are actually perfect for each other before it’s too late.
Lee Toland Krieger’s film deserves credit for its refusal to take sides, portraying each character with flaws, but it also runs the risk of alienating audiences. Jones’s Celeste, in particular, often comes across as far too smug and is difficult to warm to, while Jesse is a slacker who continually shies away from responsibility. There are times when sympathy extends further to the various other romantic prospects they encounter along the way. Fortunately, a strong final act eventually wins you over, making Celeste and Jesse Forever a flawed but intriguing take on a well-worn genre.
Selected release from Fri 7 Dec.