Pros: an attempt to show smartphone addiction and make fun of BuzzFeed Cons: very flat jokes; predictability; image of the main character; camera technique from sitcoms that does not produce the desired comedic effect “Jexi” / Jexi
Director John Lucas, Scott Moore
Starring Adam Devine (Phil), Alexandra Shipp (Kate), Michael Peña (Phil’s boss), Rose Byrne (Jexie), Justin Hartley (Kate’s friend), etc.
CBS Films, Entertainment One
Year of release 2019
The plot of the film introduces Phil – he is one of the employees of a large company where they create text content that should go viral. The hero does not strive to find friends, so he spends all evenings at home, ordering dinner online and turning on streaming services. Phil is inseparable from his smartphone; on the streets he sees nothing but the screen, which one day causes a collision with a cyclist. The phone fatally falls into pieces, and the man has to go get a new one. The purchased smartphone has a voice assistant, Jaxie, which is somewhat different from anything Phil has encountered before. Jaxie behaves like a person: he makes caustic comments, interferes in work correspondence and forces him to go on dates. Getting rid of Jaxie is not so easy – Phil feels helpless without his phone.
The very idea of a comedy that makes fun of the technological dependence of almost every modern person is quite good. Alas, this is the only thing worthy of praise here. When it comes to implementing the idea, the filmmakers don’t bother themselves much, choosing the simplest path – jokes below the belt and absolutely predictable plot twists.
We have already seen a romantic version with a love story between a writer and artificial intelligence in the melodrama “Her”. The film with Joaquin Phoenix falling under the spell of Scarlett Johansson’s voice was released six years ago. He was the only one who was successful – this comes to mind even while watching “Jexy”, where the AI humiliates the main character in every possible way, ignoring requests for help.
“Jexie” was directed and written by two people at the same time: John Lucas and Scott Moore. Both participated in the writing of the comedies The Hangover and Bad Moms. Then they chose not to set the bar high, as did The Hangover director Todd Phillips, who released a new serious story about the Joker.
Lucas and Moore took the simple route, counting on an audience that would laugh at any vulgar remarks. At the same time, they had a huge space at their disposal for social satire, but they decided to make fun of simpler things. For example, the main character’s inability to maintain a dialogue with girls. Or his completely normal desire to spend his evenings at home watching Netflix.
The creators do not hesitate to mention other well-known companies, playing up the experience of using services or technology. The only thing the writers do more politely is to invent an online platform very similar to BuzzFeed, where the main character works in the office. They mock the format of publications in such publications, which gain large views due to photographs of cats and celebrities. The main character, trained as a journalist, is forced to come up with meaningless “top 10” lists in order to stick to his boss’s content strategy.
The boss, by the way, is played by Michael Peña, known for the films Ant-Man and Dora and the Lost City of Gold. He embodies the madness of companies that are supposedly driven by creativity. True, the scriptwriters kill this witty part with flat humor, not even suitable for comedy.
The role of the main character went to Adam Devine, who starred in the TV series Workaholics. What’s most memorable is not Devine’s performance, but how the writers try to make his character look like a complete idiot-homebody, who can only be corrected by carrying out crazy actions that relieve him of everyday fear.
In addition, the camera work is puzzling. In awkward moments, the camera zooms in on the face of the central character – just like in famous sitcoms. This technique does not produce the desired comedic effect, and in the second half of the film the cameraman no longer uses zoom.
It’s clear that “Jexie” conveys the message that people should take a break from their phone screens and try to spend more time in the real world. Unfortunately, the film fails to wittily play up the dependence on technology, as well as present a life-affirming message.
all the funny and relevant moments are spoiled by low-grade humor