The Incredible Jessica James - Review

Netflix has been on a roll when it comes to original films lately. They have been making some great choices at film festivals, and investing in great relatively unknown talent. The Incredible Jessica James joins the ranks of Okja and War Machine. Keep on reading to see how The Incredible Jessica James stacks up in a stellar movie season.

I was not aware of Jessica Williams before the preview for this movie was released. I know she is a Daily Show alum, but I was never a regular viewer of that show. (Don't @ me). However, I am always on the look out for new, fun stories. I don't care about genre, I just want a story. So this certainly caught my attention. For the most part I wasn't disappointed. First of all, it comes in at a brisk 85 minutes. I've seen television episodes that last longer. But like Dunkirk, it was refreshing to have a movie around an hour and a half after years of nearly three hour long epics.

There is something for everyone to relate to in this film. It might not seem like it on the surface, but if you're willing to go on the journey, you will find something that relates to you. Whether it is how to navigate the awkwardness of a relationship (also see: The Big Sick), how honesty can pay off, or how you should always, no matter what, follow your passions, there is something there.

While Jessica Williams now has a new fan, I've been a fan of Chris O'Dowd for a while now. He was in one of the greatest sitcoms ever, The IT Crowd, and I am glad to see him doing things that are slightly more serious now. There is a ton of humor in this movie, and a lot of it stems from him, but it's a bit different than The IT Crowd in that it's more a sarcasm than flat out "sitcom humor". He plays off of Jessica well, and the banter between them is often the strongest part of the movie.

The way the story is told is quite clever too. There are some dream sequences seamlessly blended into the story so you really don't know you're in one until after it is over. Then when you think you have it figured out, they pull the rug out from under you. There are certainly other ways the story and the moments could have been portrayed but this was a very good choice by the director Jim Strouse. There also seemed to be one scene in the movie that was an homage to the opening scene of Quentin Tarantino's Jackie Brown but that could just be my imagination. I am curious to see if anyone else notices it.

This movie certainly isn't your mother's romantic comedy of old. It is definitely modern. It was still whimsical and playful, but you could definitely imagine it happening in today's world. That is not to say your mother wouldn't like the movie, but it might be different than the usual love stories they are used to. It could be a bit in-your-face or off-putting for someone wanting something more "traditional"; but it is a different, fun and effective approach to the subject matter.

The Incredible Jessica James does a good job portraying what it is like to be passionate about something. It also is wonderful at showing how complicated love and feelings can be, all within a short amount of time. Some of the character development feels rushed and somewhat forced, but you get enough of a picture to understand their choices. If we were to spend more time with these character they might be fleshed out better, but then it might have suffered from stalling the story or being unevenly paced. This was probably the better option. 

We're getting a very good crop of low budget films that are actually pretty good this year. It is nice to see movies outside of huge blockbusters getting some attention and acclaim without Academy Award motivations.

If you have a Netflix account (or access to one) give this a shot if you're receptive to this sort of story. It might put something in your life into perspective and if it doesn't you still have an entertaining story to escape into for 85 minutes.

The Incredible Jessica James is now streaming on Netflix.


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