January 22, 2012

Sundance Review: Celeste and Jesse Forever

Like the indie (and personal) darling from 2009, 500 Days of Summer, Celeste and Jesse Forever is quirky and comedic, but at the end of the day, honest and relatable look at an offbeat relationship. And while it's going to take a lot to trump Tom and Summer in my mind, Celeste and Jesse are quite the charming couple, despite their supremely unusual situation. The new film, which had its world premiere at this year's Sundance, is a touching, sweet, and absolutely hilarious dramedy that fulfills all the requirements of the genre. Relatable characters, smart dialogue, and genuine emotion. This one scores with flying colors. 

Celeste and Jesse are the perfect couple. They complete each other's sentences. They have a delicious rapport. They have this little thing that they do where they pretend to masturbate a small tube of cream, resulting in… well, you get the idea. They spend all their time together. So why are all their friend's creeped out? No reason, just that Celeste and Jesse are getting a divorce. 

Now that's a clever premise if I ever did see one. We aren't clued into the fact that marital problems have arisen until about 15 minutes in, and it's a genuine surprise, because the two of them are so frigid' good together. The script, written by Rashida Jones and Will McCormack, finds the perfect balance between raunch and pathos, creating something that seems familiar, but ultimately transforms into something special and refreshing. 

And damn, do the cast members knock it out of the park! Jones plays Celeste, and utilizes her impeccable comedic timing, as well her strong dramatic chops, to great effect. Her counterpart is Andy Samberg, playing Jesse like the most complex SNL character ever. Samberg hasn't really ever had a chance to flex his dramatic muscles, but he displays a confident touch, and creates a character worth celebrating. McCormack is hilarious as Celeste and Jesse's pot dealing friend, and Emma Roberts offers up some inspired lunacy as an obvious parody of all things Ke$ha. And Elijah Wood is pitch perfect as Celeste's business partner who is trying way too hard to advertise that he is gay. 

Under the watchful eye of director Lee Toland Krieger, Celeste and Jesse Forever is something really wonderful. At times gut bustingly funny, thanks in no small part to Jones and Samberg's infectious chemistry, and at times very difficult to watch, it perfectly walks the tight rope between full on comedy and full on drama. 

This is one you shouldn't miss! Also, the soundtrack is awwwwesooooome!

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