“Jexi”

LOUISA:  3 STARS


LOUISA SAYS:

Taking a one-note idea and attempting to turn it into a feature length film, “Jexi” embraces the crazy girlfriend narrative and blends it into a warning about our dependence on technology. Think of it as a low-brow, crude, and much funnier parody version of “Her,” except with a threadbare script and limited concept.

Nerdy Phil (Adam Devine) can’t live without his phone. He has no friends and spends his free time alone in his apartment. After upgrading to the latest and greatest new phone, he discovers reliable virtual assistant Siri has been replaced by Jexi (voice of Rose Byrne). Jexi is a built-in A.I. program designed to be a life coach, cheerleader, and helper all in one. She’s software with a mission to make Phil’s life better, but as he starts to put away his electronic device and start living life with new girlfriend Cate (Alexandra Shipp), Jexi morphs into a jealous nightmare who is determined to keep Phil all to herself.

It’s a timely, silly, and funny idea, but you aren’t going to enjoy this movie if you don’t already like Devine. His brand of goofball comedy is an acquired taste, but he’s doing what he does best here. There are some memorable chuckles from the supporting cast, especially Michael Peña as a wacky boss and Wanda Sykes as a deadpan, sass-talking tech shop employee. Byrne also does a terrific job voicing Jexi, with a nasty and snarky tone that perfects her merciless roasts of poor Phil.

The gags become repetitive and predictable, but it’s turned into a decent enough satire. There are plenty of good laughs, even if they aren’t always super inspired. “Jexi” never quite hits comedy gold and is probably better suited for a streaming release, but it’s inventive and enjoyable enough to mildly recommend.

 

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