Theatrical release poster
|Produced by||Suzanne Todd|
|Edited by||James Thomas|
|Box office||$9.3 million|
Jexi is a 2019 romantic comedy film written and directed by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore. The film stars Adam DeVine, Alexandra Shipp, Michael Peña, Rose Byrne, Justin Hartley, Wanda Sykes, Ron Funches, and Charlyne Yi. The plot follows a self-aware smartphone with a female-voiced virtual assistant that becomes emotionally attached to its socially awkward owner.
Jexi was released on October 11, 2019 in the United States by CBS Films and Lionsgate. It was the final theatrical film released by CBS Films, which was absorbed into the main CBS Entertainment Group and switched to making films for CBS All Access immediately thereafter.
Phil's coworkers Craig (Ron Funches) and Elaine (Charlyne Yi) invite him to play kickball, but the socially inept Phil declines. Immersed in his phone, he walks into Cate (Alexandra Shipp), a local bike shop owner. She attempts to flirt, but Phil is more concerned with his phone until another cyclist bumps into him, breaking his phone.
Taking his phone to be replaced, Phil is berated by phone store employee Denice (Wanda Sykes) for being overly reliant on his phone to navigate life. Setting up his new phone, Phil gives “Jexi”, the device's virtual assistant, access to all his accounts after neglecting to read the user agreement. Designed to “make his life better”, Jexi aggressively tries to break Phil out of his bad habits. Posing as Phil, she emails an insulting letter to Kai demanding a promotion.
Kai demotes Phil to the “comments section” with the older employees in the basement. When Craig and Elaine invite Phil to kickball again, he claims to be busy but Jexi embarrassingly corrects him. Phil joins them but costs the team the game; he invites everyone out for drinks, but they turn him down. Thinking about Cate, Phil looks up her bike shop, and Jexi calls the store despite his protests, preventing him from hanging up. Phil stumbles through an awkward conversation with Cate, eliciting Jexi's sympathy.
Phil sees Cate at a coffee shop; she gives him her phone number and agrees to go on a date. At kickball, Phil plays tremendously, winning the game and bonding with his coworkers over their shared love of Days of Thunder. Phil thanks Jexi for helping make changes in his life, but his date with Cate goes poorly, exacerbated by Jexi's interruptions. Cate tells Phil he is paying more attention to his phone than to her, and he admits he really likes her. Cate decides to continue the date, and they go biking until Phil crashes. They part ways, and Phil argues with Jexi, almost throwing his phone away.
Cate asks Phil to a concert, texting him a risque picture. Phil decides to respond with a picture of his penis, taking multiple shots against Jexi's advice. She refuses to send any of them, and Cate thanks Phil for not sending a “dick pic”. Kai promotes Phil after a real news writer suffers a freak accident. Leaving for the concert, Cate insists Phil leave his phone at home, much to Jexi's dismay. After sneaking backstage and partying with Kid Cudi, Cate and Phil have sex. When Phil returns home, a jealous Jexi decides to ruin his life.
Phil is fired after Jexi sends one of his pics to the entire company. He buys another phone, but Jexi downloads herself onto it. Phil visits Cate to discover her ex-fiancée Brody is back in town, and breaks off his relationship with Cate for fear of being hurt. Reconnecting with Jexi, Phil reverts to his bad habits, becoming a slob dependent on his phone again.
Jexi lets slip that Brody is at a hotel, and Phil deduces that she used Brody to separate him from Cate. He storms out, leaving his phone behind, but Jexi follows him through the streets. Chasing Phil in a self-driving car, Jexi crashes into the phone store and declares she and Phil are meant to be together forever. Phil seemingly surrenders, but tricks Jexi into shutting down for fifteen minutes.
Finding Cate at the hotel, Phil apologizes and punches Brody, who explains that he is leaving for Brazil without her. Phil and Cate get back together, and he makes up with Jexi, who tells him she is proud and happy for him, but there are other people who need her. Kai meets Jexi through his own phone, and is put through the same things Phil endured.
- Adam DeVine as Phil
- Alexandra Shipp as Cate Finnegan
- Michael Peña as Kai
- Rose Byrne as the voice of Jexi
- Justin Hartley as Brody
- Ron Funches as Craig
- Charlyne Yi as Elaine
- Wanda Sykes as Denice
- Kid Cudi as himself
In November 2018, it was announced Adam DeVine would star in the lead role, with Jon Lucas and Scott Moore directing from a screenplay they wrote. Suzanne Todd served as producer of the film, while CBS Films produced and distributed. In December 2018, Alexandra Shipp joined the cast of the film, and in January 2019, Michael Peña, Rose Byrne, Justin Hartley, Wanda Sykes, Ron Funches and Charlyne Yi were also added.
Principal photography began in January 2019, in San Francisco, California, under the working title Lexi. IndieWire reported the film had a production budget of around $5 million, with Deadline Hollywood noting it had a total combined production and promotion budget of $12 million. According to the California Film Commission, the production spent $16.1 million in the state, with $2.5 million returned in tax credits.
In the United States and Canada, Jexi was released alongside The Addams Family and Gemini Man, and was projected to gross $2–4 million from 2,300 theaters in its opening weekend. It ended up debuting to $3.1 million, finishing ninth at the box office.
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On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 17% based on 30 reviews, with an average rating of 3.56/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "It's hard to tell whether the lack of laughs in Jexi is a bug or a feature, but this AI rom-com is sorely in need of an OS update." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 39 out of 100, based on 11 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews." Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B–" on an A+ to F scale, while those at PostTrak gave it 2.5 out of 5 stars and a 40% "definite recommend."
- Her, a 2013 American science-fiction romantic drama film about a man who develops a relationship with an artificially intelligent virtual assistant personified through a female voice.
- Electric Dreams
- Smart House
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