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Celeste and Jesse Forever (8/10)

by Tony Medley

Run time 91 minutes.

Not for children.

One of the main things that annoys me in modern movies is the unrealistic slice of life dialogue when characters talk to one another. It's often excruciating to endure. It's hard to know whether to blame the script or the acting or the directing, probably a combination of all three. In any event, when these silly scenes appear, interest wanes.

Directed by Lee Toland Kriegar and written by Rashida Jones, who also plays the leading role, and Will McCormack, who plays a supporting character, Skillz, this is an acute, perceptive story of a girl, Celeste (Jones), who is too smart for her own good.

What makes this film such a gem is that the scenes and dialogue are straight out of today's world. The people talk like people would actually talk, only they are much funnier than most people actually are. The film is replete with laugh out loud lines, even though the story is bittersweet.

Celeste and Jesse (Andy Samberg) have been married for a decade and Celeste, who is successful, thinks the best thing to do is get a divorce, as Jesse is just kind of going along, accomplishing nothing. The result tugs at your heartstrings when you are not laughing.

Jones gives an Oscar®-quality performance and Samberg is not far behind. Good as Samberg is, however, Jones carries the film, and it takes talent to play a role like this because of the dichotomy between a love story that seems to be taking the wrong path and genuine comedy.

The dialogue is acute. This is a romantic comedy for the 21st-Century, one that realistically captures life as it is today.

June 12, 2012