Jexi

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Cast: Adam Devine, Alexandra Shipp, Rose Byrne, Michael Peña, Justin Hartley Director: Jon Lucas, Scott Moore Time: 100 minutes Genre: Comedy Age Restriction: 18 DLNS Release Date: November 22, 2019

WHAT IT'S ABOUT:

Phil has a major dependency issue—he’s addicted to his phone. He has no friends, he has a job writing pop culture "Top 10" lists, and his love life is nonexistent. But,his Facebook status is about to change. When he’s forced to upgrade his phone, the latest model comes with an unexpected feature: Jexi – an A.I. life coach, virtual assistant and cheerleader. With Lexi’s help, Phil begins to get a life.

WHAT WE THOUGHT:

When Phil (Adam Devine) is forced to upgrade his cellphone, the introverted journalist who would much rather cuddle up on the couch with his mobile and watch Netflix, is introduced to Jexi (voiced by Rose Byrne) – the AI assistant on his phone much like Siri and Bixby, only completely intrusive.

At first, Phil thinks Jexi must be some sort of software malfunction, but manages to live and even love her. But she soon becomes a nightmare when he realises he can’t live without her – by her choice – and be with Cate (Alexandra Shipp) who he falls hopelessly in love with in the span of about 45 minutes.

But an utterly unbelievable love story aside, Jexi, the film, has many defects.

Promising to bring the comedy of The Hangover and Bad Moms with writers Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, Jexi isn’t quite as funny as one would assume from that commitment made in the trailer. The trailer itself had all the best parts, and though there are a few more laughs in this modern love story provided by a witty pop culture reference here and there, there’s nothing truly remarkable and memorable about it.

So although it’s a romantic comedy, neither genre came through strong enough.

And turning Rose Byrne’s Jexi into a jealous woman out for revenge when she can’t let the man she loves be happy, did absolutely nothing for the outdated gender tropes of the romantic comedy.

I will say that Byrne’s detached delivery of her sharp one-liners was probably the stand-out of this film.

From Pitch Perfect to Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, Adam Devine seems to have pigeonholed himself into the same character: the charmingly goofy underdog. So performance-wise, while Rose Byrne manages to impress even as a seemingly emotionless AI assistant, it’s as though I’ve seen this version of Adam Devine before, and not much changed with version 2.0.

All in all, this was a below-average film, and while there may have been some sort of message in there about how we’ve become a tech-obsessed society, ironically, I would much rather have had my weekly report say I upped my screen time for the day by 1 hour and 24 minutes because Jexi could do with several bug fixes and improvements – perhaps a full software update.