Chris Kavan's Movie Review of Jexi

Rating of


Turn On, Tune Out, Get Help
Chris Kavan - wrote on 01/10/20

I fully admit I went into this film with pretty low expectations. Modern comedies are a tough sell for me - let alone any that try to shoehorn romance into it. But thanks to the genial goofiness of Adam Devine, the deadpan technical assistant delivery from Rose Byrne and some major scene-stealing from Michael Peña and Wanda Sykes, Jexi manages to be a pretty fun ride.

Technology run amuk can be used for both horror or comedy - and Jexi is kind of a mix of both. The horror aspect is realizing just how much people rely on screens - I mean, right now, I'm not only typing this review on my computer, I'm also watching Neflix AND playing a game on my cell phone - oh,and I have a second monitor (though I'm not doing anything else on it... at the moment). Jexi pulls no punches when it comes to showing just how much technology affects us. Case in point - Phil (Devine) a single man who spends his days making lists for Chatterbox, while his tech-bro boss (Peña) makes this as annoying as possible. When he literally runs into Cate (Alexandra Shipp), it eventually results in his phone being destroyed. After some help from a world-weary cell phone employee (Sykes) he becomes the owner of a brand-new phone - one with a built-in assistant, Jexi (voiced by Byrne).

It is immediately apparent that Jexi goes above and beyond a typical app, berating Phil for failing to read the user agreement. Given access to pretty much everything in his life, Jexi starts to make Phil's life "better" starting by ordering him a kale salad (child's size). This evolves into playing kickball with his co-workers (played by Ron Funches and Charlyne Yi), getting to know Cate better and even make his job better suited to his journalism degree - granted, this all comes with plenty of put-downs and missteps - but, hey, technology! Even as Phil gains confidence, and maybe even finds love, Jexi starts to turn on him. Just remember, folks, you don't have to save every picture on the cloud.

I don't know how Byrne trained to actually sound like a phone assistant, but she does a really good job at it. Devine is still in his element as the every-man and Shipp is a nice contrast. But truly the best scenes in the film are Peña and Sykes just doing their thing - short and sweet - and hilarious. Though the film follows the traditional romantic comedy path, it isn't afraid to get a bit raunchy. Sure, it's a bit rough around the edges, maybe too cute at times, too crude at others, but, overall, it's a perfectly fine comedy, one that provides plenty of laughs and even a crucial message - but given the prevalence of technology today, one that is easy to accept but so, so hard to change.

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