First off, I have not read Infinite Jest so I can’t say if this movie would be better/worst if you knew/read about the book or actually know of Wallace. So there’s that. But I will be reading it sooner than later.
Segel was great here, really great. I was hanging on every word and was really curious and actually interested to see/hear how he thinks. I would definitely say that he has vastly improved in his acting. Though I am comparing him to his previous work, so either he is a good actor and just didn’t get good gigs or he improved; I don’t have the right answer. The cinematography really lend itself well here when facebook has constant chats with him back and forth. It never really feels boring as Wallace is such an interesting person and the lines are just done right. Segel never feels rigid or boring really; I don’t really know why. Maybe, it’s due to the fact that Segel to me is always Marshall from How I met Your Mother (tv show) so to see him do so well here, I am surprised and proud.
Jesse on the other hand is himself once again. Having watched 2 movies in a role where he’s just doing his typical Eisenberg mannerisms is actually boring. American Ultra did it well cause it sorted him well as you got what you expected. His performance here really makes you wish he would do something beyond his normal mannerisms /acting. So I do look forward to the day when he acts not like himself.
Like I said the cinematography lends itself well in setting up a chill and relaxed atmosphere during this interview session between the two leads. There’s nothing that stands out too much beyond that it works well as in the shots were done to create the closeness/distance between the two writers. I noticed that the movie ends with a similar sound as Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, which to me was a distraction as I was thinking about that movie rather than the narration done by Jesse.
So all in all, I would say this movie is definitely recommended solely on Jason Segel’s acting. To see how ‘far’ he has gone since his early days is rather rewarding. He proves that he can break through the typecast of a comedian and enter the world of ‘drama’. I would hope that the movie would actually be better if you read and understood Infinite Jest as all I could do was really imagine how ‘good’ the book was whereas if you actually read it you would know how great it was.