‘Jexi’ fails to make a homicidal phone funny

By Parker Otto

At a first glance, “Jexi” seems like an interesting comedy, but while having a creative premise, the film fails to earn the title of comedy with a dull plot and a lack of humor. 

“Jexi” stars Adam DeVine as Phil, a socially awkward introvert who constantly stares at his phone instead of socializing with others (insert social commentary here). However, when his phone breaks, Phil purchases a new one with a highly advanced artificial intelligence feature named Jexi, voiced by Rose Bryne, who pressures Phil into taking more chances in life. However, once Phil starts to make friends and even form a relationship with Cate, played by Alexandria Shipp, Jexi snaps and tries to make Phil’s life miserable.

The film contains a few merits and DeVine’s performance as Phil is one of them. He is likeable and quickly gains the empathy of the viewer. Phil also has a relatively nice story arc, which begins with Phil working at a crummy job writing fluff pieces for a news publication and wanting to be a real journalist. As Phil becomes more confident in himself, the film feels like it has a sense of purpose.

Alexandria Shipp also does a fine job as Cate. Her relationship with Phil is a highlight of film and the chemistry between the two of them is believable. One of the best scenes of the film involves the two of them sneaking into a concert where they learn more about themselves and each other. 

The romantic plotline is so pleasant that it weakens the main premise of the film, which is Phil’s mentally unstable phone. Much of the humor related to the phone involves Jexi swearing at Phil, which gets old fairly quickly. The film’s advertising made it appear that Jexi going crazy and possessing other machines to do her dirty work would be the highlight of the film. However, the film never goes all the way with this premise, which leads to a dull confrontation between Phil and Jexi.

Ross Bryne is also wasted because of how much she sounds like an actual virtual assistant such as Siri or Alexa. Because of this, her performance is “robotic” and her conversations with DeVine don’t feel genuine. In the film “Her,” about a man, played by Joaquin Phoenix, who falls for a virtual assistant, voiced by Scarlett Johannson, Johannson was able to sound like an actual person which allowed her to have more personality. 

Jexi, at times, feels tacked onto the film. Phil and Cate’s love story is strong enough that the film could have written Jexi out of the film, resulting in a decent romantic comedy. 

The film is not very funny as most of the humor involves either Jexi shouting terrible things at Phil or sexual humor. While there are a few moments that are humorous, most of the jokes in the film don’t register with the viewer as funny. 

“Jexi” is a decent romance film that has a terrible sense of humor and a ridiculous premise that never truly comes to fruition. “Jexi” shouldn’t be the go-to film if someone wants a good laugh.