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Andy Samberg and Rashida Jones’ “Celeste and Jesse Forever” – First impressions from Sundance


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By Jordan Hoffman

There’s a moment early in “Celeste and Jesse Forever” when the very talented Rashida Jones and Andy Samberg are being sickeningly cute. We cut to their friends Ari Graynor and Eric Christian Olsen looking grossed out by their silly, “Hans and Franz read the dinner menu” shtick and the gag is “man, young people in love can be so annoying!” But the joke overthrew the mark for me, and I was left thinking, “man, movies about young people in love being annoying. . . can be so annoying.”

Then there comes the twist, that these two lovebirds are actually ex-lovebirds, now separated, but still best friends who spend every waking moment with one another. I threw my hands in the air (I can be demonstrative at screenings, but never loud) at a premise I just couldn’t buy. At the twenty minute mark, I was considering leaving, and may have done so if I wasn’t obligated to stay. Then something quite unusual happened. I started falling in love with the movie.

Maybe it was because the premise was, by now, out of the way, or maybe it was just because these actors are just too damn good, but some transformation took place such that I began to actually care about these people, their friends and their futures. So much so that when there was a callback to the earlier funny voice moment I actually felt guilty for not liking it before.

Jesse is something of a desultory artist and Celeste is a “trend analyst” whose type A personality (and need to always be right) forced her to cut Jesse loose. But she still loves him, of course, and all it takes is a night trying to put an IKEA dresser together for backsliding to occur. Both parties try dating and, slowly, everyone grows up a little.

“Celeste and Jesse Forever” is a perfect example of “the same but different.” You know what type of buttons are going to get pushed in this movie, you know there are going to be wacky friends, ups and downs, musical montages, awkward encounters. . .and yet, there’s a specificity going on here that elevates the material. It’s about as good a romcom as I’ve seen in quite some time, with a lot of insight. The perfect example being what you first think is a throwaway character, a Lady Gaga-esque popstar played by Emma Roberts, who, shocking, turns out to be an actual human being with depth and feeling.

The writing, by Rashida Jones herself and Will McCormack (who also plays the friendly neighborhood pot dealer Skillz) is quite sharp. There are fantastic zings, wonderful running gags about Jones’ clothing and what I can only call a deus-ex-animalis in the form of a man in a bear suit offering hugs.

Those looking for edgier fare at the fest kinda shrugged this a bit with a “yeah, yeah, it’s good,” but those on the business side see this as a guaranteed pick-up by a major distribution outfit. “This year’s ‘Like Crazy'” is a headline flying around the blogosphere. For me, it is an exercise in keeping yourself open to a quality film, even if your body first tells you you just aren’t in the mood. Like the story’s main characters will tell you, you never quite know how you are going to end up feeling after a period of time.

Does this sound like a film you’d like to check out? Let us know in the comments below.


Rev Up

Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.


Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.

Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…


A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.


Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.