by T. Mack
Netflix has finally done it. They’ve finally made me use that stupid, new, dumbed-down thumbs-up system.
I was holding out. I was determined not to cater to a system deliberately less effective than its predecessor; a system created just so Netflix could keep people from truly being able to rate their original content as crappy, even if it is. I wasn’t going to thumbs up anything. Ever. But today, The Incredible Jessica James was finally available for me to watch. And I lost my battle against the thumbs. Because that film was funny, and tender, and raw, and it made me happy in a way that forced me to give it a thumbs up. That’s just how incredible Jessica James is.
The Incredible Jessica James is an original Netflix film about a young woman living in New York City, trying to make a name for herself as a playwright. She’s recently had her heart broken and is trying to move on by starting to date again. It’s not really going very well, but Jessica has a unique sense of self and a confidence game that’s on point. So even though she’s down, she can’t be counted out.
The premise doesn’t seem like much. And though the film is technically a romantic comedy, it barely lives up to the classification. Even though there is romance and it is humorous, the romcom factor doesn’t feel like it’s actually the point of the film. In fact, it isn’t what the viewer cares about most at any point during the run time. Instead, the thing that sells the movie is Jessica James herself. More specifically, it’s Jessica Williams’ fun, funny, and dynamic portrayal of Jessica James that makes the film so likable.
The actress manages to bring strength, tenderness, vulnerability, and humor to the role. Somehow, she blends them all to create a character who is confident without being arrogant, passionate without being obnoxious, and sarcastically witty without being mean. In the end, it all comes together to create a character with whom viewers want to be friends and spend time. Chris O’Dowd, Noël Wells, and LaKeith Stanfield help round out the cast with strong and likable performances.
Full disclosure: This movie isn’t really about much. Jessica James is a likable character who has some things going for her and some things not going for her. At the end of the film, a few more things are going for her than were at the beginning. And basically, that’s it. There isn’t a lot of growth, no fantastic character development or grand story arch of which to speak. However, the film is quite enjoyable simply because the main character is such a cool chick and is so much fun to spend time with.
If you’re looking for something to watch that has a lot of depth, tons of development, and a story that really takes you for a ride, then The Incredible Jessica James is not the one to watch. However, if you have a couple of hours to kill and you want to watch something that will make you laugh and leave you smiling, I recommend this movie. It’s a fun time, even while being really simple.
Rating: 4 SHIELDS
Have you watched “Jessica James” or do you plan to? What did you think? Let me know in the comments. And while you’re there, let me know which Netflix Originals you recommend.