The lead characters in “Celeste and Jesse Forever” are having a very saggy breakup, and the film’s exploration of two best friends learning to live apart starts out crisp — with funny, weird and engaging dialogue — but soon slogs down into very familiar territory.
Celeste (Rashida Jones) and Jesse (Andy Samberg) met as teenagers, became best friends and eventually got married. As the film begins, that marriage is essentially over, but they act as though nothing has changed: Jesse has moved into his studio out back, but the two still hang out and indulge in the same inside jokes and buddy-banter they’ve always enjoyed.
But then Jesse starts dating, and he gets a woman pregnant, and it’s not until he begins to build a post-marriage life that Celeste, a type-A trend forecaster and oft-insufferable smartypants, realizes that it’s time for them both to move on.
Cue the inappropriate blind dates, the drunken recriminations, the weepy preparations for a friend’s wedding and just about everything else you would imagine this brand of comedy delivering on a vintage, ironic platter.
t’s a shame that “Celeste and Jesse” plummets into conventionality in its second half because it starts out promisingly, revealing Jones (who co-wrote the screenplay with Will McCormack) and Samberg’s funny, prickly rapport.
But when the movie separates them, and the two characters have to go off and learn lessons about how to be a grown-up, it simply stops being interesting.