Review of Celeste and Jesse Forever


Rashida Jones has been funny in the past on shows like “The Office” and currently on “Parks and Recreation”. I had to keep telling myself that during her first starring role (that she also c-wrote with Will McCormack) in “Celeste and Jesse Forever”, a movie like “(500) Days of Summer”, just not good.

She plays Celeste to Andy Sandberg’s Jesse, a young couple that got married young but have now separated and are headed for divorce. Celeste works at a very successful marketing firm while Jesse is an artist who otherwise spends most of his time being a slacker surfer, hence why she wants to the divorce. Only the two are still very close, which is bothersome to both of their married friends (Ari Graynor, Eric Christian Olsen), and Jesse is still holding out hope that only intensifies when the various drunken fling is prone to occur.

We get no background on this couple. If the only problem with the relationship is Jesse’s lack of job, then why can’t he just find something that uses his artistic talents? Did these two try counseling beforehand? And in a silly plot turn, why would Jesse just suddenly impregnate a new girlfriend when he seems to prefer a lackadaisical life? For two people supposedly playing smart 30-somethings, they seem like idiots.

Things that Jones seems to think are adorable (Celeste and Jesse take part in a long running gag about jerking off small objects that look like small penises) really come off as obnoxious and pathetic. Not to mention lame gags like getting stuck in a trashcan and the cornerstone of any desperate comedy, the goofy drunk scene. For a romantic comedy claiming to be so observant of a break-up, the jokes are witless and the comedy just inanely stupid.

And “Celeste and Jesse Forever” basically feels like its goes on…forever with a circular plot that has them either staying together, going, remaining the same and on and on that goes. In the end we learn the usual lessons of any romantic comedy (the woman stops being such a ball-breaker, the guy not so lazy) but the two dull, unfunny characters make that less of a promising journey than necessarily hoped. And I doubt many people who work at a marketing firm sit around and make snarky comments about how there’s no intelligence in pop music. Like the rest of this movie, it’s a really unfunny take on something that’s pretty hollow.