Fans of the brilliantly hilarious Jessica Williams have followed her since her days as the resident Beyonce correspondent on The Daily Show and more recently, the super-popular comedy podcast 2 Dope Queens which she hosts with her partner in crime Phoebe Robinson. There is a specific “I knew about her before you did” pleasure her fans get when people discover just how funny this woman is — and with her starring role in THE INCREDIBLE JESSICA JAMES, her funny will spread across the country like wildfire making her the comedic movie star she deserves to be.
In the film, Williams plays an aspiring and unfiltered playwright in New York City. When she isn’t struggling to get her work recognized, she is teaching playwriting to a group of kids or obsessing over her ex-boyfriend (Lakeith Stanfield). When we first meet her she is on a horrible (yet absolutely hysterical) Tinder date in an attempt to make her ex, who is at the same restaurant, jealous. The plan backfires and she goes back to wallowing and wandering aimlessly through her post break-up life. Things start to change when her BFF (Noel Wells) sets her up on a date with recent divorcee Boone (Chris O’Dowd). She hesitantly goes on the date, but as they bond over their broken hearts, they fine comfort in each other — first as a booty call and then into something more.
As Williams’ first starring role, The Incredible Jessica James is a sweetly cynical and on-brand film for the former Daily Show correspondent and stand-up comedian. She lights up the screen with her incendiary wit, irreverent take on relationships in the 21st century, and her infectious use of social media slang and abbreves (i.e. “AF” and “totes appreesh”). But most of all, Williams proves that she is a leading lady that can carry a film like the boss that she is.
The film marks her second time collaborating with Jim Strouse, who directed her in the comedy People Places Things opposite Jemaine Clement. Strouse, who also wrote the screenplay, creates a solid story that is equal parts heartfelt and millenial without being obnoxiously quirky. This is thanks in part to a talented and down-to-Earth supporting cast that looks less like a carefully curated and overstyled ad for H&M or wherever the hip kids are shopping these days and more like they could actually live and work in Brooklyn.
The Incredible Jessica James is just good all-around. Effortlessly funny, it gives the ordinary romantic its own unique Strouse-Williams spin on what could have been rudimentary (or “basic AF” as Williams would say). At one point in the movie Boone says he likes Jessica a lot. To that she says, “Everyone does…because I’m dope!” That pretty much sums up Williams and this film.
Rated: Not yet rated
Running time: 85 minutes
Dino watches too much TV, enjoys reality singing competitions and laughs inappropriately during dramatic films. He’s a fan of comedy, podcasts, and comedy podcasts. He’s a reformed comic book geek and thinks “The Goonies” is the best movie of all time. When he isn’t stuffing his face with a burrito, he’s thinking about his next trip to Disneyland.
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Dino-Ray Ramos | Staff Writer