A consistently intelligent (or at least bright), coherently constructed comedy that is on occasion a rather pointed critique of the American education system in the…
"Celeste and Jesse Forever" is a good-hearted romantic comedy about a likable couple — so likable, indeed, that it swims upstream against the current of our desires. The two have been happily married for years, long enough so their friends think of them as a unit, and now they've decided she'll stay in the house and he'll move into his studio in the backyard. "But we're still best friends," they explain to everyone. To me those are five of the saddest words in romance.
This decision upsets and even offends their friends, because after certain people become fixed stars in their firmament, they feel threatened if things change. If the marriage between Celeste and Jesse isn't working out, what can they expect to happen in their own lives? In a sense they have the duty to stay together just to set a good example.
Celeste and Jesse are played by Rashida Jones and Andy Samberg, who make an appealing couple. That doesn't come as a surprise about Jones, but Samberg shows a dimension here that would have been difficult to guess from "Saturday Night Live." The movie benefits from a sound screenplay by Jones and Will McCormack, who write dialogue and create supporting characters who don't seem like air-headed plot puppets, the way so many rom-com characters do. There's a certain respect for their feelings.
Of course they play opposites, but opposites attract. She's Type A, he's Type Zzzzzz. They comfortably occupy what seems to be the same double act, in which they can spin off in-jokes of indefinite length for their own amusement. Given their personality types, of course it's Celeste who asks for the divorce. Jesse would never arouse himself to such a pitch. She is ambitious for herself, ambitious for him, ambitious for their marriage, and incapable of staying in a marriage that has no particular problems except that she can imagine a better one. They've been married for six years, and she's closing in on the seven-year itch.