Wednesday, August 22, 2012

"Celeste and Jesse Forever": Heterosexuals can mess up marriage even while divorcing


If there was a romantic comedy to prove that straight people can mess up marriage, perhaps “Celeste and Jesse Forever” would fit.  Celeste (Rashida Jones) and Jesse (Andy Samberg) are going through a divorce, and try to remain “friends” while they both date.  Actually, it seems like Jesse already “has a baby” (age three months in another woman’s womb) while Celeste is too busy outperforming him in her advertising career.  It’s perfect George Gilder stuff.

Well, Celeste may not be doing so well after all.  Her gay agency boss Scott (Elijah Wood) advisers her that a top client was offended by some accidental imagery in one of their posters.  Later, the movie tries to take this thread into a gay disco scene, which it flubs (it obviously didn’t try to film in the Abbey in West Hollywood).  Seriously, most men in gay discos are fit and trim.  Why weren’t they in this film? There's another cute line, where Rashida asks Jesse if he's gay just before he says he really will become a dad.

The film, directed by Lee Toland Krieger, suffers from a somewhat trite script, written in part by Rashida herself.  But it makes LA look good (the indoor scenes were shot in Rhode Island).  The Disney LA Philharmonic Hall appears, and there is a hotel scene with a panoramic view of LA from the “405” that looks like it was shot literally in the boutique inn (the Angelino) in which I stayed last May. 

The early scenes in the film introduce us, literally, to some of Andy’s body on the beach, with his modest leg and chest hair, as if to remind us of his role on SNL.  Remember when he tried to act the part of Mark Zuckerberg  (alongside another imitation by Jesse Eisenberg) on SNL – eclipsed when the real Mark appeared?

There's an interesting embed of the "Happy Painter's" syndicated television show, which I remember seeing on Saturday mornings after returning to the DC area in late 2003.

Note that the March 2009 issue of  "Out" has a cover picture of Andy Samberg. 

The official site is here.


Apparently the film appeared at the “LA Independent” film festival. But stylistically, it’s more like a big studio romantic comedy, mixed with some B-movie fluff.  It could well have been released under Sony’s “Screen Gems” or “Tristar” brands rather than Sony Pictures Classics. 

Alternate spelling of the title: “Celeste & Jesse Forever”. 

I saw this at the AMC Shirlington in Arlington, before a moderate summer weeknight crowd. 

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