Celeste and Jesse Forever

Rated 3.0

Celeste (Rashida Jones) and Jesse (Andy Samberg) are getting a divorce, but they’re more or less inseparable—the marriage hasn’t worked out, but they’re still best friends, constant companions still living in separate parts of the same residence. The quirky, ultra-hip psychology of their relationship makes for an unusually smart and offbeat brand of romantic comedy at first, but once the pressure builds up for each to find another partner, things get complicated and the comedy veers off into something sadder and a little more muddled. Director Lee Toland Krieger seems a little uncertain as to how to manage the variable tones and bright ironies of the script (written by Jones and Will McCormack, who also plays a key secondary role), with the result that the charms of the cast (and the initial premise) end up getting somewhat dissipated. Jones is especially striking, for a while at least, and Samberg shows signs of promise as a dramatic actor. Chris Messina, as the most interesting of Celeste’s would-be suitors, delivers the film’s best performance and its one fully coherent characterization. Pageant Theatre. Rated R.