2017 is bringing back romantic comedies in a fantastic way. Just after the success of Michael Showalter’s brilliant The Big Sick, comes The Incredible Jessica James – a Netflix Original film written and directed by James C. Strouse (or Jim Strouse as he is sometimes credited) and starring comedienne Jessica Williams. The film follows Jessica James – portrayed by Williams – a charismatic and sincere playwright seeking success in New York City after a serious break-up. Jessica then meets Boone (Chris O’Dowd), a recently divorced app creator, on a blind date.
The film is incessantly charming, with every character bursting with life and authenticity in such a heartfelt way. The characters in this film feel very real, and so do their problems, which is what makes this film so refreshing as it stands in a genre with miles of cliché-filled, formulaic and pandering flicks. Jessica and Boone discuss issues with dating that are relatable and honest in the modern-day, such as obsessively stalking your ex’s Instagram, pointless or disastrous Tinder dates and being unable to diminish feelings for a past love even when you are fond of someone new. The film balances humour and tenderness so perfectly, with Jessica Williams handling heartfelt scenes with a class of young hopeful playwrights in an incredible – mind the pun – way, that avoids cheese and cliché.
Jessica Williams grounds this film exceptionally. She is a natural star and brings so much heart and wit to this film. Her chemistry with co-star Chris O’Dowd is wonderful and her charisma and character is palpable. It’s no wonder the writer/director Strouse made this film for her. While The Incredible Jessica James isn’t groundbreaking, it holds its own as an excellent romantic comedy with a strong script and cast and works perfectly as a Netflix Original.
The Incredible Jessica James result: A