Monday, February 18, 2013

Celeste and Jesse Forever Blu-ray Review

Reviewed by Jami Ferguson
Rashida Jones (The Social Network, TV’s “Parks & Recreation”) co-wrote the screenplay and stars with Andy Samberg (TV’s “Saturday Night Live”) in the delightfully witty romantic comedy Celeste and Jesse Forever, debuting on Blu-ray and DVD February 5th from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.  The film follows Celeste (Jones) and Jesse (Samberg) as a young married couple who find themselves growing apart.  At 30 years old, they decide to get divorced and attempt to stay best friends while pursuing other relationships.  While navigating the turbulent changes in their lives and in their hearts, the two learn that in order to truly love someone, you may have to let them go.  With Elijah Wood (Lord of the Rings Trilogy) and Emma Roberts (Valentine’s Day), Celeste and Jesse Forever also stars Chris Messina (TV’s “The Mindy Project,” “Damages”), Eric Christian Olsen (TV’s “NCIS: Los Angeles”) and Will McCormack (TV’s “In Plain Sight”).

Film (3 out of 5 stars)

Celeste (Rashida Jones) and Jesse (Andy Samberg) are high school sweethearts who married young, and are best friends.  Celeste is a successful writer and trend forecaster while Jesse is unemployed and still finding his way.  Celeste and Andy enjoy each others company, make each other laugh, share the same unusual sense of humor – and they are getting a divorce.  Their friends, don’t understand it but the couple is very happy with their situation.   Jesse lives in his backyard studio and the arrangement is working well at first. Jesse hopes that Celeste just needs some time and will reconsider their situation.  Celeste seems happy to be separated, but still close.

During their separation Jesse did venture out and sleep with a woman.  He didn't call her afterwards, but they run into each other in a bookstore.  As he introduces Celeste as a friend, it signals the beginning of the end for their marriage.  Jesse starts to work on a future with the new woman, as Celeste realizes that she doesn't want their marriage to end.  Finally, Jesse breaks the news that he needs Celeste to sign the divorce papers so he can remarry.  In the end, Celeste must figure out how to lose her husband without losing her best friend too.

"Saturday Night Live’s" Andy Samberg stars with Rashida Jones ("The Office," "Parks and Recreation:) in this unusual love story.  Andy Samberg’s acting was slightly better than I expected, but then again, I must admit, I can’t see the man do anything without thinking of him doing the “d@ck in a box” skit on "Saturday Night Live."   I have the same problem seeing Elijah Wood play Celeste’s friend and business partner, as his voice always makes me think of his role in The Lord of the Rings movies.  I didn't have that issue with Emma Roberts who plays Celeste’s spoiled teenage client well.  

The film was interesting, unique, and fairly well-acted overall.  For someone who loves to watch people suffer physically at the hands of vampires, zombies or serial killers, I've learned that I just don’t enjoy watching people’s emotional pain very much.  Celeste and Jesse was a decent movie but it’s not one I’m going to watch again.  For me, most of the joy of my movies comes from repeated viewings and this film just doesn't fit into that category.

Video (4 1/2 out of 5 stars)

Celeste and Jesse Forever is presented in 1080p high definition with a 2.40:1 ratio. As with the film in general, the video quality is very good, but not quite perfect.  Detail is very sharp with excellent facial and clothing textures.  Skin tones appear even and consistent and the picture is sharp enough to notice small details and black levels are solid and dark.

Audio (4 1/2 out of 5 stars)

The Dolby Digital 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio presentation is certainly sufficient for a rom-com of this type. The dialogue is consistent throughout and club music isn't overwhelming.  As this is primarily a dialogue driven film, this isn't the type of film that makes use of all the channels on your surround sound system, but nonetheless this is a very good mix that works perfectly for this film.

Extras (3 out of 5 stars)

The special features didn't thrill me that much and there's not a whole lot included on this disc.
  • Deleted Scenes – Three deleted scenes approximately three minutes in total.
  • Commentaries – There's two commentaries included with the first one done by Rashida Jones and Andy Samberg.  Jones and Samberg offer a light-hearted commentary that is entertaining and they joke around a lot while they talk about the movie.  The second commentary is a more of a straight forward commentary devoted to the usual film-making topics and insight with Director Lee Toland Krieger and Actors Rashida Jones and Will McCormack.
  • The Making of Celeste and Jesse Forever – Cast and crew discuss the characters, plot and film making process.
  • On the Red Carpet: Premiere and Q&A – Short interviews before the film’s 2012 premiere.

Summary (4 out of 5 stars)

If you’re looking for a traditional comedy, or something in the realm of things you would see on "Saturday Night Live," this isn't the film for you. It’s got a real independent feel to it and is better than I expected. Andy Samberg pulled of some decent acting. Celeste and Jesse Forever is one of those movies that reminds you that life is crappy. That may be a lot more realistic than a lot of the fluffy love stuff, but I don’t always want reality. It was a little strange to have the movie center around a couple that the viewer isn't sure whether to root for or not.  I’m starting to realize that I can count on a pretty good audio and video transfer when it comes to Sony Blu- rays, regardless of the content of the film or its box office ratings.

Order your copy today!

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