Film Review: Jexi

09:52 October 16, 2019
By: Fritz Esker

Spike Jonze's 2013 drama-comedy Her focused on a man falling in love with his computer. In the weak new release Jexi, a man's smart phone falls in love with him and starts developing Fatal Attraction tendencies.

Written and directed by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore (writers of The Hangover and writer/directors of Bad Moms), the film follows Phil (Adam Devine), a listicle writer who's perpetually on his phone. After his phone breaks, he gets a new one with a Siri-esque operating system called Jexi (voiced by Rose Byrne). Not long after that, Jexi falls in love with him.

Lucas and Moore's script for The Hangover actually had a pretty good plot structure to it (with a few tweaks, it could've functioned well as a straight detective story). But Jexi feels aimless, and padded even at 80 minutes (including the ending credits). While many situations in Bad Moms were exaggerated, the characters' frustrations over how other people judged and perceived their parenting skills felt real. Phil never feels real in Jexi. A film could get some laughs out of people's phone/social media addictions, but Jexi hits only the most shallow and obvious joke targets (Ingrid Goes West is a better comedy about social media addiction).

The one bright spot in the film is Byrne's voice work in the title role. She's a gifted, underrated comic actress (Bridesmaids, Spy) who earns the film's few laughs. Hopefully, one day she'll get the comedy showcase she deserves.

★½ stars (out of four)

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