places to go, people to meet
Can a man and a woman just be friends? “When Harry Met Sally” seemed to have answered that question once and for all but now “Celeste and Jesse Forever” seem to approach it from another angle, still there is that Redford/Streisand ending from “The Way We Were”.
Celeste (Rashida Jones) and Jesse (Andy Samberg) have known each since 10th grade and we meet them when, after 6 years of marriage, they have separated. They have always been best friends and still are to the point that Beth (Ari Graynor) is so annoyed with them she runs out on the pair and her fiance, Tucker (Eric Christian Olsen), when the 4 of them are having dinner in a restaurant. Celeste and Jesse are separated but it seems they are only in the sense that Jesse is living in the studio behind their house.
Whatever brought them together enough to get married is puzzling unless opposites do attract. Celeste is a type A go-getter who is very judgmental and doesn’t hesitate to express her opinion whether appropriate or not and as one person says, “...that you think you are smarter than everyone.” Jesse is a man-child laid back artist, though we never see him working, waiting for something to happen. As they are heading for a mutually agreed upon divorce when Jesse is the first to go out on a date Celeste doesn’t handle it very well, especially when she and Jesse are in a bookstore and they bump into the woman, Veronica, (Rebecca Dayan) who Celeste looks down upon.
Along the way we meet Riley, (Emma Roberts) a young pop star Celeste is ‘branding’, Skiliz (Will McCormack, a drug dealer, who I admit I have no idea what he is doing and/or saying in this movie and Paul (Chris Messina) who goes to yoga classes to meet women and admits it. A not so major character, Scott, (Elijah Wood) is a co-worker of Celeste and she wants to make him her gay friend but both know that won’t work. By the way there are a lot of gay references, unnecessary and some sophomoric.
The screenplay was co-written by Ms Jones and Mr. McCormack which seems to give the edge to Ms Jones as Celeste. There are too many fillers in the script, which if exercised, like the off color joke shown twice, would have made for a much tighter film. The director, Lee Toland Krieger, has too many blurred scenes though does show L. A. in its upscale, non-Hollywood lived in and working area. The music, by Sunny Levine and Zach Cowie, add nothing to the film and at times distracts from it.
“Celeste and Jesse Forever” starts off slowly but sets up what you think may be a different approach to the question asked at the beginning of this review, “Can a man and a woman just be friends?” Depending upon how you feel about that question this film may or may not answer it but if you are over 40 you may just shake your head.
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