'Celeste and Jesse Forever' seems to last forever

atomictown.comAugust 31, 2012 

Saying it's an issue common to their generation, actress, actor, and writers Rashida Jones (The Office) and Will McCormack base Celeste and Jesse Forever on their own failed relationship and ultimate friendship.

-- Local show times, theaters, trailer.

Not content to just co-write the script, Jones also stars. She's Celeste, who met soon-to-be ex-husband Jesse -- nicely done by Adam Sandberg -- in high school.

Now in their 30s, they've drifted apart and decide to divorce. Once the decision is made, not much changes. They laugh, they play and finish each other's sentences. All that's different is they don't have sex and don't live together. He bunks in a bungalow in the back of what is now her house.

The relationship is now perfect.

Perfection -- as we all know -- is hard to preserve. A conversation with friends gets the two really communicating and Celeste learns Jesse has met someone and is slowly but steadily moving on. She has a crisis of conscience that leads to heavy drinking, seriously bad dates and wondering if leaving him is the right thing to do.

The acting is terrific. Jones is charismatic and an exceptionally natural and talented actress. Jones and Samberg (Saturday Night Live) are very good together and believable as a couple struggling with who they are as a non-couple.

Samberg -- with the right script, like this one -- is a very good actor. He's the perfect sad sack and impossible not to like. But the movie is more about Celeste than Jesse, and Samberg isn't seen enough.

Great performances are also given by Emma Roberts (Hotel for Dogs) as a self-absorbed singer and Elijah Wood (The Lord of the Rings trilogy) as Celeste's wise business partner. Both have exceptional and deep exchanges with Celeste.

The flaw is the script.

It's a first-ever screenplay from Jones and McCormack. There are places where the story is interesting -- sometimes even profound. However, as Celeste wallows in her pity party, the plot tends to plod and wanders. That leads to the title, unfortunately, defining the movie. It is possible for 92 minutes to seem like forever -- with or without Celeste and Jesse.

Mr. Movie rating: 2 stars

Director: Lee Toland Krieger

Writers: Rashida Jones, Will McCormack

Stars: Rashida Jones, Adam Samberg, Emma Roberts, Elijah Wood, Will McCormack

Rated PG-13 for mature themes. It's playing at Regal's Columbia Center 8.

5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen

4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.

3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.

2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.

0 stars: Speaks for itself.

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