Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Celeste and Jesse Forever, dir. Lee Toland Krieger, wr. Rashida Jones, Will McCormack, st. Rashida Jones, Andy Samberg, Ari Graynor, Eric Christian Olsen, Elijah Wood, Emma Roberts

Celeste and Jesse Forever announces its own seriousness from the off by having two heavyweights of TV comedy - Parks And Recreation's Jones and Saturday Night Live's Samberg - as the protagonists. That the laughs do not come thick and fast is in no way to do a disservice to this perceptive yet often cumbersome dramedy. We start, unusually for romcoms, at the end. We are expositionally informed that Celeste and Jesse's relationship is winding down. They've had a good run, but now it's time for them to part and go their separate ways. Only like two orbiting satellites, the mutual stability enabled by their symbiotic gravitational pulls isn't letting them spiral off and forge their own trajectories. In-jokes, and familiarity which was once their bedrock is now a prison of their own making, comforting as it is. Once Jesse decides to make a break for it with Veronica (Rebecca Dayan), a post break-up, pre-divorce fling, Celeste is cast adrift; isn't this what they wanted? Jones' script deals compassionately with the ludicrousies and nonsensicals of post-relationship minutiae, but the warm and tender charisma between her and Samberg cannot aid the lack of backstory shown between these two characters. So keen is the story to focus on moving on, it forgets to illustrate what we are moving on from. Personally, I would have liked to have seen fifteen minutes or so of edits re-inserted into the film to allow for this, as well as help certain scenes improve their transition from one another, but the overall tone is suitably sombre and bittersweet and whilst telling us nothing new, reminds us that breaking up always will be the hardest of things to do.