Technology is a thing we tend to take for granted. I can remember a time when a phone was just a phone and the only time people were on them was when they were talking to someone on the other end. Today, everyone is one their cell phone, browsing social media and texting back and forth without hardly looking up. Jexi focuses on the overuse and dependency of cell phones by telling the story of an introvert who depends on his phone for everything. The result is a funny comedy that features some raunchy material and also some heartfelt moments as well. This was quite a surprise to watch.
Phil (Adam DeVine) lives in San Francisco and is a writer for a list company called “Chatterbox.” He spends his days in front of a computer writing articles that are basically click bait. He works, he goes home, spends most of his time looking at his phone and has little social interaction with anyone. He has no friends, no girlfriend, not a single soul to talk to in his life. His phone does everything for him. He orders delivery, watches Netflix, the occasional skin flick and lives on social media. He knows nothing else because he doesn’t make an effort to explore the outside world.
One day while walking he bumps into Cate (Alexandra Shipp) outside her bike store. He’s so worried about dropping his phone that when he does talk to Cate, it’s more awkward than anything. When Phil goes to replace his phone, he discovers that the operating system is Jexi (voice of Rose Byrne), who is similar to Siri or Cortana but she has a mind of her own. She speaks to Phil, has access to all his information and knows every little dirty little secret of his. Once Phil realizes all that Jexi can do, she becomes a headache to him. DeVine brings a lot of energy to the film and seeing him get into an argument with his phone made me laugh quite a bit. We learn that, while Jexi can be a troublemaker and a bit obsessive, she’s there to help Phil. He needs to get out more, interact with people and perhaps get a date with Cate.
The movie is loaded with plenty of raunchy humor something of which I’m not the biggest fan of. I find that the best way to approach any comedy is to see if you laughed, and I did quite a bit. I do like the script and the direction of Jon Lucas and Scott Moore (who penned the script) as well as the supporting cast’s performances, specifically those from Michael Pena and Wanda Sykes. Even as the story develops, the movie has a lot to say about the overuse of cell phones and technology. There’s one moment where Sykes’ character compares cell phone usage to drug addiction and I found that scene hilarious!
One moment that I will mention is when Phil gets a date with Cate and the conversation is so awkward because Phil has no idea what to say. When he puts his phone away, that’s when the magic happens. I thought of how many people I see in restaurants on their phones not giving their undivided attention to the person there with. It’s a pretty sad sight to see. With Jexi we get an interesting story that’s not really new in terms of technology and romantic comedy. Her was a movie that immediately popped into my mind, but of course Jexi is playing more for laughs and less on a deep and thoughtful story.
Verdict: 3.5 out of 5 Stars
Jexi does feel cheap at times with the raunchy comedy, but that didn’t affect my view of the film. The trailers turned me away but I was smiling once I left the theater because I had a surprisingly good time. The jokes worked, I enjoyed the characters and the realization that cell phones should only be used as a phone and not an outlet to connect with the outside world still remains true. Once you put it away, your mind opens up and your eyes see the world for what it is…beautiful. Phil sees this and watching his story brought laughs, smiles and an unexpected good time at the theater.