Dating has always sucked. But now, thanks to the never-ending nightmare that is social media and online dating apps, it sucks more than ever. With the death of courtship and dating's slow transformation, it can be easy to feel like finding a partner is a Sisyphean task. This is but one of modern life's sad truths that The Incredible Jessica James seeks to dismantle and demystify through a one-two punch of acidly funny observations and uncomfortably accurate insights into how we function nowadays both in the wake of a breakup--by obsessively refreshing our exes' Instagram feeds--and when trying to find a new significant other, i.e. wading through an Raiders of the Lost Ark-style snake pit of unsolicited dick pics.
Much like Helen of Troy's face launched a thousand ships, Jessica Williams' performance in The Incredible Jessica James will hopefully launch a thousand movies with her in the starring role. The film stars Williams as a struggling playwright who is trying to make a name for herself in the ultra-competitive world of professional theater, while floundering in the wake of a particularly brutal break-up. Yet this is hardly a one-woman show; aiding and abetting Williams in her star-making performance are dynamic co-stars like Chris O'Dowd, Lakeith Stanfield, and Noël Wells. In particular, Wells has terrific chemistry with Williams, and their relationship as BFFs chasing both romantic fulfillment and professional success will hit home for many viewers. While at Sundance, I sat down with Williams and Wells to talk about what they want audiences to take away from this movie, the waking nightmare that is online dating, and much more.
The Incredible Jessica James, directed by Jim Sprouse, premieres on Friday, January 27 at Sundance.
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