A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Jexi is a raunchy comedy about Phil (Adam Devine), a lovable loser who ends up in a toxic relationship with his smartphone's virtual assistant (voiced by Rose Byrne). She turns his life upside down but ultimately for the better. Expect nonstop use of extremely strong language ("motherf----r," "f--k," "s--t," "a--hole," "bitch," and more) and lots of sexual innuendo. There are also references to pornography, virginity, masturbation, sexting (including full-frontal pictures), and more. Adults use alcohol and drugs (marijuana); there's also pipe smoking. The movie does invite audiences to think about whether they're too reliant on technology and about the importance of digital well-being and placing friendships and relationships before devices.
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What's the story?
Written and directed by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, JEXI follows lonely San Francisco listicle writer Phil (Adam Devine), who uses his smartphone for everything from finding the fastest way to work to ordering his nightly meal. One day, when his phone is accidentally cracked, Phil buys a replacement that has a brand-new virtual assistant named Jexi (voiced by Rose Byrne). Foul-mouthed and sarcastic (and obviously defective), Jexi wants to help Phil succeed, so she uses her knowledge of all his passwords to send emails and texts on his behalf, help him get promoted, and even strike up a romantic relationship with vintage bike shop owner Cate (Alexandra Shipp). But soon Jexi starts to have "feelings" for Phil and sabotages the better life she helped him create.
Is it any good?
Despite the talented cast, this tech-gone-wild comedy is neither as original nor as funny as you might expect. It starts off with potential, considering how devoted Phil is to his smartphone. As put-upon wireless store clerk Denice (Wanda Sykes) declares, Phil and his fellow millennials are like addicts when it comes to their phones. They simply can't function. But once Jexi is activated, the jokes are mostly limited to her outrageously foulmouthed AI voice denigrating every aspect of Phil's life. The novelty of the humor wears off quickly, and by the time Jexi proclaims her love for Phil, the jokes have worn out their welcome.
One of the movie's worst aspects is its meet-cute romance. Shipp's Cate is an appealing dream girl, but her date with Phil is cringeworthy at best, even after they start connecting. That Phil is suddenly turned into a kickball god and a serious journalist thanks to his blossoming relationship is laughable (and not in a good way). On the bright side, both Sykes and Michael Pena are on hand as entertaining supporting characters who poke fun at Phil and deliver genuinely funny lines. Charlyne Yi and Ron Funches are mildly entertaining as Phil's co-workers who finally convince him to join them for drinks and sports after work. Jexi's workplace comedy works better than its personal comedy, but ultimately there's not enough charm or heart to make it worth seeing.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the amount of language and sexual innuendo in Jexi. Are they necessary to the story? Who do you think the film's intended audience is? How can you tell?
- In theaters: October 11, 2019
- On DVD or streaming: January 14, 2020
- Cast: Adam Devine, Rose Byrne, Alexandra Shipp
- Directors: Jon Lucas, Scott Moore
- Studio: Lionsgate
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 84 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong/crude sexual content and language throughout, some drug use and graphic nudity
- Last updated: July 16, 2020
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