Rashida Jones: America's Next Indie Film Sweetheart

Rashida Jones: America's Next Indie Film Sweetheart

When I read about Rashida Jones’s newest film Celeste and Jesse Forever, and saw she was not only the star, but also co-wrote it, I was also super pumped! I think I may have actually let out a tiny squeal.

If you’re a fan of the NBC sitcoms The Office and Parks and Recreation, then you already know and love Rashida Jones (especially if you’re a dude). I first saw Jones on The Office in 2006, when she had her brief stint as Karen Filippelli, Jim's love interest. Sure, she was likeable and annoyingly attractive but I didn’t really think much of her acting career until I started watching Parks and Recreation.

Season One was a bit shaky for Parks and Recreation, but I became a huge fan of Jones’s character, Anne Perkins, in the second season and beyond. The chemistry of the cast is astounding, but the improv genius between Anne (Jones) and Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) became a necessity for the hilarity of the show.

As far as movies are concerned, most of you know she had a role as the easy-going and understandable fiancé Zooey Rice, in the 2009 movie I Love You Man. She also has a small role as Cindy Harris, a lesbian lawyer, in Our Idiot Brother (2011).

I know she was playing opposite the likes of Paul Rudd, Jason Segal, Zooey Deschanel and Elizabeth Banks but it kind of sucked seeing her on the back burner of those two movies. That’s why I was delighted to see Jones prove her acting talent and comic timing in Celeste and Jesse Forever.

The flow of the film seemed very real to me. A lot of the critiques I have read said the story was flawed and that it didn’t really know where it was going. In terms of classically structured Hollywood romantic comedies, they’re right. Obviously, this is not one of those. When you’re in a long-term relationship and then it ends, your life isn’t classically structured. I think the majority of us can relate.

I liked the fact that I didn’t know which way the movie was going to go next; it was a hilarious ride! It was refreshing not to see your typical cookie-cutter Hollywood chick flick. I feel Celeste and Jesse Forever has the potential to appeal to a broader demographic than your typical romantic comedy.

Jones’s co-writer Will McCormack, who also has a small but hilarious role as the mutual friend, Skillz, made sure of that. After watching the movie, finding out that they wrote it together made perfect sense because the few scenes the two share stand out.

Andy Samberg (Jesse) is great in it, too. I like when you can tell there is a lot of improvisation with the script; to me it makes comedies feel less rigid. Think Anchorman and Bridesmaids. Samberg and Jones played off of each other quite nicely, and the comedic vibe between the two is organic, but Jones ran away with this one. Thus, another reason why I love independent cinema: it allows an actor  who usually has minor roles in studio films to step up and show the audience that they can take the bull by the horns as the protagonist.

Jones definitely stepped up to the challenge and proved herself. I am hoping this propels Jones’s career into more lead roles and I am also hoping she stays on the Indie circuit for a while longer! Celeste and Jesse Forever is playing at Landmarks Century Centre Cinema at 2828 N. Clark Street, Chicago and Landmarks Renaissance Place Cinema 1850 Second St., Highland Park. http://www.landmarktheatres.com/Index.htmvibe

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