They say that breaking up is hard to do, and that certainly seems to be the case for Celeste and Jesse (Rashida Jones and Andy Samberg), who are getting divorced despite the fact that they still hang out together all the time, still love each other, and still have a great time goofing off together. Their friends don’t understand it, and indeed, it’s tough at first to see why these two would be even considering breaking it off – but it soon comes down to the fact that Celeste is moving onward and upward in her career, and she really wants someone more upwardly mobile than unemployed artist Jesse at her side, preferring to relegate Jesse to “best friend” status instead.
It may be unromantic of me to say it, but I understand where she’s coming from – thinking of a potential life partner as one navigates the dating pool involves not just mutual attraction, but serious consideration of whether this person would make a good parent, or a good co-provider. It’s a testament to Jones’ and McCormack’s script that these issues, which are almost never seriously discussed in romantic comedies (especially in a post-marriage situation) are explored here without making either Celeste or Jesse the villain, or even unlikable. In fact, just the opposite. In fact, the chemistry between Jones and Samberg is almost TOO good. Celeste at one point mentions that they’re better friends now that they’re separated and not fighting all the time, but we never see any of those fights, so it’s a little hard to believe that she’s not exaggerating their apparent friction.