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Has anyone else felt like they’ve been waiting all summer for a good movie to come out? Nothing has been drawing me to theaters in months, but I was in the mood for a movie the other weekend, so a friend and I chose what we thought looked the closest to being remotely entertaining: Celeste and Jess Forever. The title alone was a turn-off until I realized who starred in it (Rashida Jones and Andy Samberg) and knew I'd be headed into a satiric, sarcastic film. Even if the plot was bad, they’d make me laugh, and sometimes that's enough. But what was surprising was everything else the movie brought along with laugh out loud humor-- an unorthodox plot, clever script, and rockin' soundtrack.
Most rom-coms are about the beginning of a beautiful relationship and driving off into the sunset to go play with puppies and unicorns and be happy forever. This one starts at the end of a relationship, Celeste and Jesse breaking up, getting divorced… but somehow remaining friends. Heading in to it I was skeptical that a movie about breaking up could be anything but depressing, but then I remembered how good The Break Up with Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn was; so I thought if Rashida Jones and Andy Samberg had similar on-screen chemistry, there was hope. Well they not only had that chemistry but also an arguably better balance of comedy and drama.
However, it's important to note the set up here's different-- it being the ultimate break up: divorce. Unfortunately our society has turned something that should be a last resort into a viable option. So on one hand, the whole movie's premise is based on something I don't believe in. On the other hand, everyone can relate to some dynamic of their relationship. The movie finds a way to make this epidemic into something humorous while still allowing the characters to be round, both of them developing throughout the film. Celeste and Jesse seemed like they could be best friends in real life. The dynamic of their relationship, with all of their little inside jokes and quirky humor, was enviable and did make you wonder how they could break up; in essence showing the realistic outcome of the romantic idea that just being best friends and getting along is enough to sustain a healthy, long-lasting marriage.
I can't end this without mentioning the soundtrack; probably the best I've heard since Garden State. I've always been a fan of good soundtracks, and I think many people don't realize how crucial they are to a good movie. In this one, each song set the tone to each scene. From the start it was more than just background noise to me. I found myself tapping my foot along to the beats that held the scenes together so perfectly. It's simple and underrated dynamics like these that can tip me off to a great film before even hitting character development, plot, special effects, etc.
And a final, more superficial note-- I want Celeste's wardrobe and career!
Celeste and Jesse Forever... or not... Worth seeing either way!
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