If you like dry, acerbic wit with a hint of Aubrey Plaza-like charm, then JESSIE CHRIST should definitely be on your radar. Created by longtime collaborators Kevin Luperchio and Chris Nicoletti, JESSIE CHRIST is shot mostly in the style of a LonelyGirl15 type of web series and follows Jessie, a high school girl who may or may not be the messiah. It’s a short form web series with each episode only lasting a few minutes or so which makes it great for a quick comedy fix. The first couple of episodes set up the two main characters, Jessie Christ and her best friend Lucy Ferr. The comedy is pretty sharp, albeit a little toned down for the first few episodes, but picks right up in the fourth and fifth and continues right until the last second of the series. The ending leaves you hanging a bit as I really was looking forward to seeing the epic catfight of good versus evil (Spoiler Alert: Lucy is the spawn of Satan is was sent to destroy Jessie, even though she doesn’t quite figure that part out until near the end of the series).
I like the understated, almost webcam-y way that the series was shot, and when the camera does actually move it actually took me out of the scene for a brief moment. It was almost like I had to get my bearings and figure out what I was watching again. The distinctive style was a great way to shoot something like this, and the only criticism that I can really offer on the cinematography is that they should have found a different way to cut away from the webcam scenes rather than just panning the camera up or away. The only other thing I can say is that the lighting in the first couple of episodes could have been better. On a related production note, getting rid of some of the background audio (it just felt a little noisy in the background) would have made the experience more enjoyable. Even though it was produced for the web, scrubbing the “room tone” out of the background would have really allowed me to focus on the characters from frame one.
The acting really stands out in this show. Actresses Zoe Di Stefano (Jessie) and Julie Brett (Lucy) are both charming, witty, and very expressive performers who are able to take a simple shot and really work the camera well. Zoe and Julie have excellent comedic timing and really do the dialogue justice. Speaking of the script, the writers of this series should be commended for writing believable high school girl dialogue. They were able to mix the vibe of a Diablo Cody-like teen girl flick but were able to leave out the ridiculous colloquialisms that she tried to inject in every sentence. The character’s feel real and the leads sell the series with a mixture of vulnerability and sharp tongues.
There are many ways you can spend your time on the internet. Checking out this series should be one of them. If you don’t you’ll probably go to hell or something. So just take the safe route and devote twenty minutes or so to having a laugh and enjoying JESSIE CHRIST.