Celeste & Jesse Forever a new film by Lee Toland Krieger staring Rashida Jones (The Social Network, The Office) and Andy Samburg (Saturday Night Live, That’s My Boy) takes your typical break-up story and flips it on its head. The story follows Celeste who has recently split from her longtime best friend and husband of six years because, among other reasons, she did not think he was mature enough to have a family with. Here’s where the story becomes different. Celeste and Jesse are still best friends, and as it appears to everyone around them, still in love. They still spend almost every day together and practically live together (Jesse has moved in to his detached studio behind the house they once shared.) While those around them find this arrangement uncomfortable and odd, Celeste and Jesse find it completely normal. Enter Veronica, a one night stand of Jesse’s from a few months ago, and the story becomes interesting.
Veronica and Jesse happen to get along very well and, surprising everyone, Veronica discovers that night a few months ago has ended in pregnancy. Jesse decides to make life with Veronica work, and, while everything begins to look up for him, Celeste’s life begins to take a tailspin.
While watching a train wreck in progress (especially one in denial) can be rather awkward and painful, Rashida Jones’ script and the wonderful cast are able to insert just enough moments of hilarity to keep the viewer engaged while still portraying the absolute depression and loneliness of its characters.
The film is bizarre, awkward, funky and creative to be sure; oscillating from painful, to hilarious, to emotional and back again. In addition to Jones’ wonderful jokes, Elijah Wood’s delightful performance and Emma Roberts’ gritty super-star performer added volumes to what could have been a trite concept. Instead we receive a sometimes choppy, but otherwise solid movie.