Two Reviews, One Blog Post

30 Aug

At first glance, the two movies Celeste and Jesse Forever and Sleepwalk with Me would seem to have little in common.

The first is a story of best friends who get married, only to realize it was a mistake, and then have a hard time moving on.

The latter is a dramatized monologue about a guy trying to make it as a standup comedian, who can’t seem to do the right thing and dump his girlfriend. Oh yeah, and he sleepwalks too.

So why, then, are these two movies appearing in the same review? Because they both engendered the same response from me — meh — and I didn’t feel like writing two separate reviews.

Ah, the benefits of not being a professional movie critic.

Breaking Up Is Hard to Do

You might say Celeste and Jesse tells the opposite story of most other romantic comedies. That is, instead of the couple meeting and falling in love, we watch how the couple falls out of love.

It stars Rashida Jones (Parks and Recreation) and Andy Samberg as the titular couple. While it’s nice to see Samberg in a more grown-up movie, and doing a decent job too, Celeste and Jesse is really Jones’ film.

She cowrote the film, and she’s amusing to watch. Celeste says she’s cool with the breakup, but her life spirals out of control because that’s just not true.

Ah, who can’t relate to that?

Samberg and Jones have good chemistry — they’re actual good friends in real life — and it’s good to see the ubiquitous Chris Messina doing what he does best, but the movie just isn’t as cool, hip, insightful, or fun as it could have been, and thinks it is. About halfway through, I just didn’t care if these two got it together or moved on.

Sleepwalk with Meh

Mike Birbiglia has been telling his sleepwalking story for years, on the NPR show This American Life, as part of his one-man Off-Broadway show, and in a book, and in the movie Sleepwalk with Me, he gets the chance to dramatize it.

Birbiglia, who also directed and co-wrote the film, serves as its narrator, and no surprise, he’s very likeable and endearing in that role. He’s kind of like Woody Allen in Annie Hall.

But the character Mike plays, Matt, is such an arrested-development loser, that he’s just not as compelling.

The film tells the story of how Matt gets the lucky break of having his standup comedy career develop right at the same time that he’s trying to put off breaking up with Abby, his girlfriend of seven years (Lauren Abrose). Quite frankly, I was surprised they’d lasted even that long. There’s so little that’s attractive about Matt, and clearly, he’s just not that into her, so I couldn’t truly root for him, and I didn’t feel much sympathy for Abby, either. And that made the movie a bit of a drag.

Truth be told, I probably would have enjoyed the whole thing a bit more if all it was was Mike telling the story while he drove.

So …

Neither of these films is rush-out-and-see-it good. Heck, Celeste and Jesse has been out for a couple weeks, and I’ve been sitting on my review all that time (which might explain why it’s such a thorough and well written one).

I’m just gonna give both of these movies a B– and move on, okay?


One Response to “Two Reviews, One Blog Post”


  1. Girls Behaving Badly for Fun and Profit « Martin's Musings - September 9, 2012

    […] actress, who I’ve enjoyed watching in movies like Nick & Nora’s Infinite Playlist and Celeste and Jesse Forever. Here, she earns some decent laughs early on, but doesn’t get a lot of help from the screenplay […]

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