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Sundance 2012 Movie Review: Celeste and Jesse Forever

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The Premieres category at the Sundance Film Festival seems to be home to films that either already have distribution or are the most likely to gain it. While some press members may think that these films audiences watch wearing their “Sundance goggles,” I disagree. A good film is always a good film and the same goes for the bad. The latest entry into this category also makes for the second time I’ve seen the premiere of a film featuring Rashida Jones at the Eccles Theater in Park City. Last year, Our Idiot Brother wound up one of my favorite Sundance entries, and so far the same can be said about her own co-written Celeste and Jesse Forever.

Packed to the gills with a hilarious cast, Celeste and Jesse Forever tells the story of a couple whom you can tell has been friends since at least high school. They drive each other around town, sincerely encourage each other in their endeavors, and masturbate tubes of lip balm at stop lights. You would hope they’re married. Well, come to find out, they are. But Celeste (Jones) and Jesse (Andy Samberg) have also been separated for six months with a divorce on the way. Their best friends (Ari Graynor and Eric Christian Olsen), who are engaged, finally tell them that they can’t hang out anymore. They find it just too weird to see them together, acting as if nothing’s wrong. Now Celeste and Jesse must finally figure out if they should just stay together or finally part their separate ways for good. Having been best friends forever, it takes a young pop star (Emma Roberts), the catastrophes of dating, and an eventual pregnancy for the two to finally face the truth of their situation.

Venturing near Bridesmaids hilarity, Rashida Jones has come up with a hilarious and heartfelt film with co-writer Will McCormack (who also happens to play their pot dealing friend in the film). But as for right now, the film could use a little tightening up. There’s a huge subplot featuring the Roberts character that could be cut out altogether and you’d never even know it was there. I’ll give the film some leeway there considering director Lee Toland Krieger made sure we knew that they were still working on the film as of a week before the premiere that Friday morning. Considering as it stands it’s still a lot of fun. Jones throws herself on a more emotional rollercoaster than Samberg, but she sure seems to be keeping the pace in the new race for the women to show they’re just as great at potty humor as the guys are. It’s just that the ladies are bringing along more heart with it which just makes for a greater pay off.

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About Cinenerd

A Utah based writer, born and raised in Salt Lake City, UT for better and worse. Cinenerd has had an obsession with film his entire life, finally able to write about them since 2009, and the only thing he loves more are his wife and their two wiener dogs (Beatrix Kiddo and Pixar Animation). He is accredited with the Sundance Film Festival.