Metro Weekly

Jamie and Jessie Are Not Together

Reel Affirmations 2011

Review by Kerry Eleveld

Rating: starstarstar (3 out of 5)
Friday, 10/14/2011, 9:15 PM
Feature presentation, $12 at Globe Theatre

JAMIE AND JESSIE are twenty-something besties who share the intimacy of lovers but not the bed. But as Jamie prepares to flee Chicago for the bright lights of Broadway, the two are forced to grapple with a relationship that neither friends nor family seem to believe is strictly platonic.

Unfortunately, their disbelief isn’t exactly believable either. The two exude a sexual tension that they’re mutually complicit in avoiding, yet their inner-circle seems truly baffled by this rather commonplace scenario. Haven’t we all witnessed this vexing brand of connection at one time or another? Jamie’s sister, for instance, wonders why Jessie has already started dating other people before Jamie’s departure and finally concludes with a sense of exasperation, “I don’t get it.”

And therein lies the fundamental problem with this otherwise harmless film — it’s consistently just short of convincing, tripped up by sophomoric writing and conversations that never quite delve deeply enough or reach a satisfying conclusion. Yes, this is a story of two people who aren’t entirely capable of owning their feelings — that’s the point — but their inability to address the palpable tension feels both overly contrived and under developed.

The film includes some awkward dates, none of which quite succeed at being funny, just unimaginably icky; the inevitable cheesy bar excursion with requisite come-on lines bordering on the absurd; and a handful of forced scenes, like when Jessie knocks on the door of Jamie’s F-buddy in search of her missing hoody and the two strangers end up having whiskey-induced sex. Hmmm. Oh, and did I mention that this is a musical? Well, sort of. Only in the sense that a random singing scene pops up out of the blue every once in a while, but it can’t quite seem to commit. Go figure.

Fortunately, the writer and director, Wendy Jo Carlton, has chosen a dynamic most people can relate to without much coaching. She uses the backdrop of Chicago to her advantage. The cinematography is aesthetically pleasing — often beautifully framed and lit. And the sex scenes are generally well executed, titillating but not gratuitously so. So if you’re in search of angst-ridden drama and simply crave seeing some cute dykes dominate the big screen, this movie should do the trick. But don’t expect to be swept off your feet. It is what it is.

Jamie and Jessie Are Not Together
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