Reviewed by: H.L. Dunbar
CONTRIBUTOR —first time reviewer
Loving a phone or other technology more than anything else in your life
Artificial intelligence technology
Overuse of smartphones, computers and video games
What does it mean to be LASCIVIOUS? Answer
Adam Devine … Phil
Rose Byrne … Jexi (voice)
Alexandra Shipp … Cate
Michael Peña … Kai
Justin Hartley … Brody
Charlyne Yi … Elaine
Wanda Sykes … Denice
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Phil does not get out much. He has a boring job, and his boss is a jerk. He doesn’t have any close friends, and, like many people today, relies on social media to replace the relationships he avoids in real life.
Phil uses his phone for everything—from entertainment to ordering all his meals. In fact, he rarely looks up from his cellphone. To Phil’s dismay, this oblivion to the rest of the world results in his phone meeting an early end. In an act of desperation, which the Wanda Sykes character, a very foul-mouthed retail worker, relates to that of a crack addict feening for the next high. Phil obtains a new cellphone as soon as possible. It includes the latest technology, not unlike Siri and Alexa—only more Artifical Intelligence and abilities.
This new technology is named Jexi and boasts the ability to improve the user’s life.
From Jexi and Phil’s first few moments together there is obvious tension. Jexi is hyper-critical of everything, from Phil’s social life, to his personality and even his diet. Jexi states that when Phil signed the electronic contract without even a glance, he had unknowingly given her the authority to override commands to his benefit. She overrides Phil’s wishes several times to keep him from ordering unhealthy food and sending inappropriate text messages.
With Jexi’s assistance, however critical, Phil’s life does improve just as promised. He receives a promotion after a fellow employee is mysteriously injured and his social life vastly intensifies as he begins to meet new people and make plans outside of work.
All is well until Phil’s new love interest suggests leaving his phone at home during a romantic night out. This night of separation exposes Jexi’s true feelings for Phil and a vengeful side to her that is now being directed towards him. She uses her technology to inflict suffering and isolation upon Phil until she has him back exactly where she wants him. Phil battles the temptation to succumb to the entrapment and false fulfillment of social media and regain his independence.
I think regardless of all of the movie’s offensive material, there is a good message that would benefit young people to hear. Unfortunately, this message is so deeply buried in foul language and scenes created for shock value instead of humor, it’s hardly worth uncovering.
“Jexi” sheds light on how the thirst for social media attention deprives us of true interaction. The film exposes how it’s become more important to us to have photos proving how happy we are than actually being happy. It reflects on how often times we post about our awesome jobs, spouses and vacations, and it’s all a mirage. It encourages viewers to take action. Instead of trying to convince others that we are content, we should be out there doing what makes us happy and bringing joy to others. The movie depicts that if you hate your job, find something you love instead. If your marriage isn’t perfect, work on it. It uncovers how the picture-perfect images on social media are contrived to fool others and ultimately cause us to deceive ourselves.
If you were to remove the foul language from this film, at best it would be predictable. “Jexi” has a foreseeable storyline that audiences have seen before. The talented actors and fun scenery aren’t enough to outweigh the offensive language and the extensive vulgar sexual content. Instead of adding depth to the characters and wit to the humor, they have replaced them with nonsensically inappropriate content and potty-mouth humor.
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.