Thursday, August 10, 2017
THE INCREDIBLE JESSICA JAMES (2017)
Written & Directed By: James C. Strouse
Cinematography By: Sean McElwee
Editor: Mollie Goldstein & Jesse Gordon
Cast: Jessica Williams, Chris O’Dowd, Lakeith Stanfield, Noel Wells, Sarah Jones
An aspiring playwright in New York strikes up a friendship with a guy while on the rebound from a break-up.
While this film is a perfect showcase for Jessica Williams. It seems More like her reacting to things rather than being a character. While she is confident beyond measure. We watch as she reacts or doesn't fit in. Yet still provides a positive agenda for every female she meets. As she is unwilling to bend to anyone else's will. Though never seems Overwhelming.
As the film goes along we watch as she learns to be more accepting to those on her wave length.
The opening scene of the film starts off promising that seems more a examination of modern dating. The film has more punchlines than set-up. Though at times can seem basic and plain. That might be the secret weapon is that while it does seem so simple it is unloading so much onto you. You barely realize it. As the film stays humorous.
Though the film is framed in a kind of romantic comedy comedy text. Where it takes some sharp jabs at modern dating and relationships. It is more about her. She fantasizes about an ex-boyfriend though those revelations never come true it does reveal things about their romance that she never verbalized to anyone else. So truly at least letting the audience in somewhat. Her romance with Chris O'Dowd's character is charming and a little unorthodox. Though it seems more modern for our times.
The film is a short feature though by keeping her ex played by Lakeith Stansfield's character more in the background. He stays a mystery that makes us want to know more about him m. As she seems to bit be able to get Closure with him. So we become as intrigued as she does. I can see an audience loving this film, especially women as Jessica James is a character they can connect to and some might even wish they were.
The film seems more written for star Jessica Williams who previously played a supporting role in the film's writer director James Strouse's movie PEOPLE PLACES THINGS. This movie is more written around her maybe as a gift or an admiration of her beauty and talents. Even though we are shown little depth when it comes to her. As again we get those glimpses of her. But it never feels like we explore any sizable ones. Though we do understand her.
Jessica Williams is a likeable screen presence who insanely, instantly watchable and enjoyable. She is the main reason to see this film and hopefully it leads to her in more starring roles. It's nice to see a female character with so much confidence on screen. Plus with skill and talent to back it up and not portrayed as a joke or have it falter and only be brought back by a man. Especially a woman of color. With plenty of charm on display. Especially as she brings an honesty to her role here. Which so far in all of her work and performances seems to be one of her indelible traits. without taking any dramatic leaps here as the lead. As it seems she is more or less playing her persona and personality, but as she is enjoyable you Don't mind, Especially if she is new to you. It's rare we see that represented. Which is why for some this film will feel like a breath of fresh air.
The film has some quirky charms such as the vibrator discussion, her teaching children's theater which also allows us to witness her creativity and trying to pass it on. As she struggles for some success. It also lays out some goals for her and her interaction with her family Though it seems more like a collection of misadventures rusher then a whole film, but closed off enough that it doesn't feel like a television pilot or anything. Where we need to explore her or he supporting characters more. The film pretty much loves up to it's title and means to show you how she is so incredible.
It's also interesting that the film Takes place in a gentrified Brooklyn, but never makes much of race nor comments on it. So that it seems to stay partially a post racial fantasy or very liberal. As race stays unimportant.
The film is more comedic than dramatic. It has more of a put a smile on your face quality rather than laughing out loud.