Saturday, January 21, 2012

Sundance 2012: 'Celeste and Jesse Forever' review

No Strings Attached and Friends With Benefits were failed attempts by Hollywood to try to modernize the romantic comedy by suggesting that some people aren't looking for "the one": They just want to enjoy a no-pressure sexual relationship with someone they like hanging out with. Beyond their other failings, those two movies bombed because, despite their aspirations to be "hip" and/or "edgy," deep down inside they were as conventional as your typical rom-com. The forthcoming Friends With Kids, which I saw back in Toronto, offers hope that some filmmakers can come up with some fresh ideas on this front, and now comes Celeste and Jesse Forever, which isn't a great film, but at least is a sincere and touching one.

Co-written by Rashida Jones, the film stars Jones and Andy Samberg as a married couple who have decided to get divorced -- even though it has done nothing to dampen the lifelong bond they've shared since grade school. Their buddies refuse to believe that these two can remain friends after separating, but it seems to be working out quite well for them....until it suddenly doesn't. I reviewed the comedy-drama for Screen International.