Marriage can be hard and getting married young and trying to maintain the same ideals as you grow as people is understandably a tough thing. Young love can’t maintain a lifetime of responsibilities, but at the same time it is difficult to lose your best friend as well. Walking into a film I assumed was going to be a quirky little indy romantic comedy, with the always lovely Rashida Jones and reliably affable Andy Samberg, it was a refreshing surprise to leave having just witnessed the emotional unfurling of a woman who didn’t know how to handle having everything she wanted, and struggled to remain solid amid the crumbling of her world.
Opening with a cute montage of pictures and clips of the cute couple we soon find out they’re separated but still sickeningly close – their ‘friendship’ borders on the grotesque love of idiotic teenagers – but that’s just them. Celeste and Jesse are just best friends who no longer work as a couple, so have amicably split. Or so we think. The film gets really interesting when the emotions start flowing, in ways I wasn’t expecting, and that is the power of this little gem.
The thing I loved most was the complete power swap in this couple. At the start Celeste is successful at work, getting on with her life and everything is perfect. Jesse is living in her bungalow and struggling to find motivation to even apply for jobs, preferring to sit around cry-watching the Beijing Olympics, clearly still wallowing in the failed marriage. As the scale starts to shift balance, the film evolves perfectly. Watching Celeste crumble is one of my favorite character transitions in recent memory. Witnessing the insanely beautiful Rashida Jones turn into a bong smoking, mayonnaise eating, drunken, rude slob was nothing short of delicious. She has a really nice screen presence and it was great to see her get down and dirty with this turkey-sub of a role. Andy Samberg is also impressive as the pathetic, weeping mess of a man who gets his shit together and decides to grow up.
With the exception of Elijah Wood’s bizarrely awkward gay work colleague dude, the supporting cast are great – I always feel safe when sexymanlips, I mean Chris Messina, is around – and Emma Roberts as Ke$ha-esque pop trash is a lot of fun.
Rashida Jones co-wrote this with Will McCormack (who also plays their token oddball friend ‘Skillz’) which proves that she is not just a pretty face. The banter between friends is natural and nice and while it does have shades of first-screenplay-itis, it is a pretty great debut and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with in the future.
This movie really got to me. I felt both sad and angry when I came out. It was good that it was mature and realistic in the way it presented the relationship, but holy crap was it frustrating because it refused to give a “classic hollywood ending”.
Also I agree about the awkward Elijah Wood character.