Celeste and Jesse Forever: Rashida Jones Writes Herself a Winning Role

Newly separated, Celeste (Rashida Jones) is told by her un-flamboyant queer co-worker (Elijah Wood), "It's time get your fuck on." He then immediately apologizes: "Sorry, I was trying to be your saucy gay friend." Co-written by and starring Parks and Rec straight-woman Jones, Forever is a notably lo-fi entry into the recent trend of romantic comedies that think acknowledging the genre's cliches is as good as subverting them (see last summer's studio offerings Friends With Benefits and What's Your Number?). A couple since puberty, L.A. 30-somethings Celeste and Jesse (Andy Samberg) are in the middle of history's most amicable divorce. They're best friends who still crack each other up with baby-talk in-jokes, and can't resist a wine-fueled hookup. So why did they break up? Because Celeste is the type of judgy, materialistic career girl these films exist to knock down a peg. An indie in evident budget if not in spirit, Forever scores a big "F" on the Bechdel test, in that its women are almost entirely defined by their relationships with men, even in their conversations with other women. As it goes on, Celeste travels down a rabbit hole of self-pity, and director Lee Toland Krieger turns the subjectivity knob up to 11, meaning that the camera goes out of focus when Celeste has confusing feelings. The character's increasingly clouded mental state seems to dictate the edit, but there's a difference between stoner logic and a scattered narrative in which characters smoke pot a lot.

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