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Lee Toland Krieger
Rashida Jones, Andy Samberg, Ari Graynor, Eric Christian Olsen, Rob Huebel, Elijah Wood
Writing Credits:
Rashida Jones, Will McCormack

For anyone who has to break up with their best friend.

Celeste (Rashida Jones) and Jesse (Andy Samberg) are high school sweethearts who married young and are now at a crossroads at the age of thirty. While Celeste is a success in business, Jesse is unemployed and adrift. Celeste thinks that if they divorce now they could still remain friends. Jesse passively accepts the decision even though he is still in love with her. As reality sets in, Celeste slowly and painfully realizes she has been cavalier about their relationship, but her timing with Jesse is less than fortuitous.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$107.785 thousand on 4 screens.
Domestic Gross
$3.094 million.

Rated R

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 92 min.
Price: $35.99
Release Date: 2/5/2013

• Audio Commentary with Writer/Actor Rashida Jones and Actor Andy Samberg
• Audio Commentary with Director Lee Toland Krieger, Writer/Actor Rashida Jones and Writer Will McCormack
• “The Making of Celeste and Jesse Forever” Featurette
• “On the Red Carpet: Premiere and Q&A”
• Chris Pine Outtakes
• Three Deleted Scenes
• Previews and Trailer


Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Celeste And Jesse Forever [Blu-Ray] (2012)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (February 6, 2013)

For a look at what happens when young love starts to grow old, we go to 2012’s Celeste and Jesse Forever. Celeste (Rashida Jones) and Jesse (Andy Samberg) fell for each other back in high school and got married young. Now that they’re both 30, they find increasing distance between each other, an issue exacerbated by her career success and his inability to land a steady job.

In the face of this relationship crisis, they decide to separate – six months prior to the film’s start, so we find them in “bestest buddies” mode. This shift freaks out their friends; Celeste and Jesse still spend all their time together and act like a couple, which seems strange to everyone but them.

Even in the face of these protests from friends, Celeste and Jesse remain BFFs and insist that this will work. Of course, circumstances tend to be more complicated, especially since it’s more than slightly possible one or both may still harbor romantic feelings for the other. We follow their journey and discover whether or not they decide to resume their marriage.

That’s the main conceit at work in this amiable drama/comedy: will they or won’t they? One assumes a romantic happy ending in movies, but that doesn’t mean one will come true here – or at least it doesn’t mean that Celeste and Jesse will reunite as a married couple.

I’ll avoid spoilers and keep the content of the finale under wraps, but I will say it works fairly well for the story told here – with “story” in quotes, as Forever lacks any real narrative. This is a firmly character-based effort, so while it includes subplots such as various romantic dalliances experienced by Celeste and Jesse with others and Celeste’s unlikely partnership with teen pop princess Riley Banks (Emma Roberts), there’s no real story to be told here. We just follow the leads and see where their lives take them as we wait to find out some form of resolution with their relationship.

Don’t expect balance between the two main characters, though, as Celeste dominates. The majority of the movie comes from her perspective, especially after the first act. During the opening half-hour or so, the film gives both leads pretty equal attention, but it gradually wanders away from Jesse and leaves him as a side character, honestly. This makes sense in terms of dramatic needs, though; again, I don’t want to say too much, but Jesse’s path eventually becomes one without much cinematic appeal, so the shift to Celeste works better.

It also helps that Jones proves to be a much better actor than Samberg. I admire Samberg’s willingness to stretch his talents beyond broad comedies like Hot Rod and That’s My Boy, and he’s okay in the part, but he lacks the skills to pull off the role’s more dramatic needs. This becomes especially apparent in the scenes where he faces off against Jones; she thoroughly outclasses him in the acting department.

Since she dominates the film, though, this isn’t a real negative. In some ways, Forever feels like Jones’ coming out party. As co-writer of Forever, she takes matters into her own hands, but this doesn’t feel like a vanity project. Jones and co-writer Will McCormack don’t reinvent any dramatic wheels, but they deliver a project that offers an interesting exploration of a relationship’s potential end, and Jones fills out her role in an eminently satisfying manner.

I will say that the characters aren’t particularly inventive, though. We get clichés via the well-put-together woman and the slacker guy, the kind of roles that I seem to recall populated a similar film, 2006’s The Break-Up. Forever turns the tables as it progresses, but it still doesn’t make the parts terribly creative or fresh.

Still, they have enough life to maintain our attention, and Jones adds depth to Celeste that probably isn’t in the script. She balances the character’s dramatic and comedic sides nicely and doesn’t wallow in the spots with the potential to be schmaltzy; Forever constantly threatens to become overly cute and precious but never quite goes there.

I also like the fact that we don’t see Celeste and Jesse split. In a clever move, they break up before the story’s start, but their inseparable BFF tendencies leads us to believe otherwise. It’s a fun twist.

A variety of factors conspire to make Celeste and Jesse Forever an erratic but reasonably satisfying drama/comedy, though Rashida Jones remains its main strength. Despite the movie’s tendency to ramble and a lack of real narrative thrust, Jones helps keep us interested in her character’s fate, and that allows us to enjoy the ride.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B-/ Bonus B

Celeste and Jesse Forever appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. This was a consistently positive presentation.

Sharpness looked solid. Virtually no softness materialized here, as the iimage remained tight and well-defined. Jagged edges and moiré effects failed to appear, and edge haloes remained absent. Print flaws also stayed away from this clean image.

In terms of palette, Forever went with a mildly stylized palette. Some shots opted for a light amber tone, while others had more of a teal impression. None of the tints seemed dominant, though, so they didn’t stand out in a negative way, and the colors were well-rendered. Blacks showed good depth, but shadows were a bit too dense; those shots tended to come across as a little thick. That was my only minor complaint, though, as this was usually a strong presentation.

As for the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, it worked pretty well. The audio tended to be somewhat restrained most of the time, but some sequences – such as those at clubs or on the street – opened up the spectrum in a satisfying manner. Cars and other elements moved around the room, while other effects added a good sense of ambience.

Audio quality was perfectly acceptable. Speech showed nice clarity and naturalism, and music was reasonably distinctive and dynamic. Effects lacked much to stand out, but they appeared accurate, and they showed mild punch when necessary. All of this seemed good enough for a “B-“.

When we shift to the set’s extras, we start with two separate audio commentaries. The first comes from writer/actor Rashida Jones and actor Andy Samberg, both of whom sit together for this running, screen-specific look at… not much. They occasionally discuss some aspects of their performances and the shoot, but mostly they joke around with each other.

In theory, that could’ve been fun, but in reality, it’s a fatuous bore. For the most part, it feels like a collection of inside jokes and smirky remarks without much to amuse anyone not named “Jones” or “Samberg”. I think both actors are talented, but they don’t give us an entertaining chat here.

For the second commentary, we hear from Jones, director Lee Toland Krieger and writer Will McCormack. They sit together for their running, screen-specific discussion of story/character areas and influences, sets and locations, cast and performances, music, photography and editing, budgetary restrictions, and a few other topics.

With this chat, we find a breezy, occasionally informative affair. Actually, “occasionally” underestimates the amount of information we find, as we learn a reasonable amount along the way. A lot of happy talk weighs down the discussion to a degree, though, and makes it feel less substantial. Still, it’s useful enough to merit a listen.

Next comes a featurette called The Making of Celeste and Jesse Forever. It goes for 13 minutes, 51 seconds and offers notes from Jones, Krieger, producers Jennifer Todd and Lee Nelson, and actors Andy Samberg, Elijah Wood, and Emma Roberts. The show looks at story/character areas, cast and performances, and influences. A few minor insights appear, but this is a fairly generic discussion.

On the Red Carpet: Premiere and Q&A goes for 14 minutes, eight seconds and shows Jones, McCormack, Samberg, Krieger, and actors Ari Graynor and Chris Messina. They give us a mix of notes about the production’s evolution, casting and shoot. Much of this info shows up in the commentaries, but the Q&A still provides a likable little piece.

With Chris Pine Outtakes, we get a short collection. This reel goes for one minute, 13 seconds and displays unused shots of the Star Trek actor. Pine shows up for a brief, easy-to-miss cameo, so this becomes a fun compilation.

Three Deleted Scenes occupy a total of two minutes, 57 seconds. We find “I Guess I’m Getting It” (0:49), “Can I Show You Something?” (1:28) and “Do Any of You Have Jobs?” (0:40). The first two offer little comedy bits between Celeste and her friend Beth, while the third lets us see Celeste’s criticisms of the diners at a vegan restaurant. All are funny; I’m not sure they would’ve fit the final cut, but at least they amuse.

The disc opens with ads for Searching for Sugar Man, Rust and Bone, Smashed, Seven Psychopaths and Chicken with Plums. These also show up under Previews and we get the trailer for Forever as well.

Low-budget character flicks can tend to get Quirkier Than Thou, and I feared Celeste and Jesse Forever would suffer that fate. However, it manages to keep itself restrained and benefits from a nice lead performance by Rashida Jones. She takes a thin narrative and helps make this an involving comedy/drama. The Blu-ray provides very good picture along with perfectly acceptable audio and a generally good set of bonus materials. This becomes a solid release for an enjoyable film.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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