Celeste and Jesse Forever (R)

Comedy 89 August 3, 2012
By Karina Longworth
In Celeste and Jesse Forever, the titular, newly-separated female protagonist’s queer co-worker (Elijah Wood) tells her “it’s time get your fuck on,” and then immediately apologizes: “Sorry, I was trying to be your saucy gay friend.” Co-written by and starring Parks and Rec straight-woman Rashida Jones, Forever is a notably lo-fi entry into the recent trend of romantic comedies that think acknowledging the genre's cliches is as good as subverting them (see last summer's studio offerings Friends with Benefits and What’s Your Number?). A couple since puberty, L.A. thirtysomethings Celeste (Rashida Jones) and Jesse (Andy Samberg) are in the middle of history’s most amicable divorce. So why did they break up? Because Celeste is the type of judgy, materialistic career girl these films exist to knock down a peg. Forever scores a big “F” on the Bechdel test, in that its women are almost entirely defined by their relationships with men, even in their conversations with other women. As it goes on, Celeste travels down a rabbit hole of self-pity, and director Lee Toland Krieger turns the subjectivity knob up to 11, meaning that the camera goes out of focus when Celeste has confusing feelings. The character’s increasingly clouded mental state seems to dictate the edit, but there's a difference between stoner logic and a scattered narrative in which characters smoke pot a lot.
Lee Toland Krieger Andy Samberg, Rashida Jones, Elijah Wood, Ari Graynor, Eric Christian Olsen, Emma Roberts, Chris D'Elia, Sarah Wright, Chris Messina, Janel Parrish Rashida Jones, Will McCormack Jennifer Todd, Suzanne Todd Sony Pictures Classics

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