15, 2012, Directed by Lee Toland Krieger
Starring: Rashida Jones, Andy Samberg, Emma Roberts, Elijah Wood
Celeste and Jesse are best of friends; they make plans around each other, they finish each other's sentences, they have in-jokes galore. Celeste and Jesse are also divorcing. Here lies the premise for our two eponymous characters, played by Rashida Jones and Saturday Night Live regular Andy Samberg. Rom-com would be the wrong word to apply, for at its centre, C+J Forever is more bitter than sweet. You could perhaps map out the gestating plot arc if asked, and do so with relative success, but it doesn't make these moments any less painful or hilarious (the two fortunately not linked) to witness - no doubt enhanced if divorce is something personally experienced. There are laughs to be had - many, in fact - with Rashida Jones, who impressively shares a writing credit alongside Will McCormack, taking it upon herself to highlight her on-screen presence as something that needs to be applauded. Reduced to far-too-similar supporting roles in the past, if Celeste and Jesse Forever does one thing, it should be to launch this girl to superstardom. Samberg proves likeable enough as Celeste's Jesse, with Lee Toland Krieger's direction resting simply on the pair's chemistry. The film raises plenty of questions about love - admittedly, too many to make you feel comfortable - and this may be the reason the film successfully evokes the appropriate emotion when needed, something romantic comedies rarely do these days. The occasional misstep (a massively understated plot turn is no big deal to the character it'd be the biggest deal too, not to mention an unnecessary sub-plot involving Emma Roberts' teen singer Riley Banks,) but it's easy to forgive those when you're viewing a film so charmingly brutal, - and one that doesn't fear standing up to Hollywood expectation.