- “I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way.”
- ―Jessica to Eddie Valiant
In the book Who Censored Roger Rabbit, she was an amoral upcoming star and former comic strip character, over whom her estranged husband, fellow comic strip star Roger Rabbit, obsessed. In the film, she is reimagined as a sultry-but-moral cartoon actress and singer at a Los Angeles supper club called the Ink and Paint Club.
She attests to Eddie Valiant that "I'm not bad, I'm just drawn that way." Indeed, she proves herself to be selfless and compassionate throughout the movie. Although she seems cool and distant, she has a soft spot for Roger, whom she married because he "makes her laugh", is a better lover than a driver, and that he's magnificent and "better than Goofy". She calls him her "honey bunny" and "darling". She adores him beyond measure and is irrefutably loyal to him. As proof of her love, she tells Eddie that she'll pay any price for Roger and helps prove Roger innocent by assisting with the investigation.
She makes it clear that despite what others think of her, she only has eyes for Roger and would do anything for his sake. She proves to be brave, quick-witted, and intuitive; she knowingly puts herself at risk to save Roger and Eddie. Yet despite the danger, she maintains a calm composure and exhibits great skill in combat, including handling a gun. While she maintains a calm and collected demeanor, for the most part, the first time she loses her composure is when Judge Doom shows her and Eddie his deadly Dip and machine to destroy Toontown, and when she and Roger are almost sprayed by the deadly substance, she sighs in relief but feels she might faint.
Jessica is a statuesque tall, terribly voluptuous and gorgeous woman with a curvy and slender hourglass figure with a narrow waist and large, broad hips. She has fair skin and long, luxurious red hair with side-bangs that usually cover her right eye. Her green eyes are heavy-lidded and seductive with long dark lashes and accented by shimmering lavender eye shadow. Her nose is fairly small, especially in relation to her full, red pouting lips. Her ensemble consists of a red sequined strapless dress that reveals a lot of cleavage with a low back, sweetheart neckline, and high thigh slit. In addition, she wears pink stilettos, elegant purple opera gloves, and gold stud earrings.
Jessica is first seen from behind the stage curtains at the Ink and Paint Club, singing "Why Don't You Do Right?" After her show, Marvin Acme, owner of Toontown and founder of the Acme Corporation, enters her dressing room to compliment her performance. Unknown to either of them, Eddie Valiant, hired to investigate the alleged affair between the two, has followed them. Though he is caught and thrown out by Bongo the Gorilla, acting as the club bouncer, when peeking through the keyhole of Jessica's dressing room, he finds another way to spy on them to get proof to show Roger and R.K. Maroon.
While they play patty cake, Eddie pulls out his camera and takes several pictures through an outside window. Though what he sees and hears leaves him to whisper to himself in utter shock and disbelief, "You got to be kidding me..."
Later, after Roger sees the pictures for himself, he breaks down and pulls out his wallet to look at photos of him and Jessica on their wedding day, their honeymoon on a beach, and them hugging each other at a bar, begging and pleading that it is not true and his wife is seeing another man.
The next morning, at the Acme factory, following Marvin's murder, Jessica, angered that Eddie incriminated Roger, smacks his face real hard, and scolds him, saying that she hopes he's proud of himself, and the pictures he took. She then storms out. Officers and investigators who witnessed her reprimand Eddie can only stare in shock and disbelief.
The next day, Jessica shows up to Eddie's office to try and explain the situation, even offering to pay any price he asks. She tells him that he didn't catch her having an affair; he was set up to take the pictures because Maroon wanted to blackmail Marvin. She explains that she wanted nothing to do with the scheme, but Maroon said that if she didn't pose for them, Roger would be out of work as Maroon would blacklist him from ever performing in Hollywood again, which Jessica, being a loving, supportive wife, couldn't allow. At that point, Dolores, Eddie's girlfriend, walks in and catches them in a compromising position, prompting Jessica to leave.
Jessica then eavesdrops on Dolores and Eddie from her car as Dolores reveals that Cloverleaf Industries is after Toontown and unless Acme's will is found by midnight that night, Cloverleaf will claim Toontown as the company put in the highest bid for it at the auction of Acme's assets.
Later that night, outside Maroon Cartoons, Jessica hits Roger's head with a frying pan and throws him into the trunk of her car, then turns her attention to the window of Maroon's office where she hears Maroon and Eddie talking. After Maroon's murder, she runs to her car and seen by Eddie just before he exits the building, making Eddie believe she was Maroon's killer. The car chase begins, as he tries to follow her, but she disappears into a tunnel leading to Toontown.
Eddie finds his way into an alley, where Jessica aims her gun at him. She yells for him to look out behind him and then shoots, hitting the gun of another shooter who was aiming at Eddie, who turns out to be Judge Doom. She says she followed Doom to Maroon's studio, but she was too late to stop him from murdering Maroon. Doom then shouts at the two as he flees. Though Eddie fires on him with his Toon Gun, Doom ducks down an alleyway, and Eddie's three Toon Bullets that were about to hit him end up going in the opposite direction, much to Eddie's chagrin as he calls them "Dum-dums".
Jessica drags Eddie to her car to follow Doom, only to find Eddie's car, which rear-ended hers, gone, along with Roger. Seeing a path of destruction behind them, they realize Roger, who is not a good driver, woke up and drove off. Just then, they hear the siren of the Toon Patrol. Benny the Cab shows up to drive them to safety. As they drive through the tunnel, Jessica reveals more information, saying that before Acme was killed, he confided to her that Doom wanted Toontown and that he would entrust his will to her, but when she opened the envelope with the will inside, it was only a blank piece of paper (which, unknown to her, actually was the will, written in disappearing/reappearing ink). As they exit the tunnel, Doom knocks over a barrel of Dip, making Benny lose control and crash into a light pole, his wheels punctured by the Dip, sending Eddie and Jessica flying out. They are then captured by Doom and the Toon Patrol and taken back to the Acme factory.
At the factory, Eddie and Jessica are searched, with one of the weasels, Greasy, offering to frisk Jessica with obvious perverted intent. He puts his hand in Jessica's cleavage only to get his hand caught in a bear trap. After assuming the will is gone, Doom reveals his Dip Machine, which will completely erase Toontown. He then explains he found plans for a freeway, which he plans to build in Toontown's place, hoping to monetize the transportation. Roger then bursts in, where he reunited with Jessica and tries to stand up to Doom, only to be incapacitated by the weasels, who then tie them up and hoist them up on a hook to be sprayed by the Dip Machine.
Before his departure, Doom advises his second-in-command, Smarty, to let Eddie watch Roger and Jessica get dipped, then shoot him. Eddie, having discovered the weasel's weakness, clowns around until the weasels laugh themselves to death. Eddie then tries to save Roger and Jessica, but Doom returns to fight Eddie, who eventually wins by emptying the Dip on Doom, who was revealed to be a Toon himself.
After Doom's death, Eddie releases Roger and Jessica. The two share a touching reunion before the police, Dolores, and the residents of Toontown arrive to look at the scene. Roger then tries to read his love letter to Jessica when it is revealed that the love letter is in fact the will, written in disappearing-reappearing ink, thereby granting ownership of Toontown to the Toons as Acme promised.
In the end, Jessica walks with Roger, Eddie, and Dolores into Toontown, saying she will bake Roger a carrot cake when they get home.
Spin-off short films
Jessica makes brief cameos in the three Roger Rabbit theatrical shorts.
She first appears as a nurse in Tummy Trouble, pushing a cart carrying baby bottles, followed by appearing as a damsel-in-distress tied up to roller coaster tracks by Droopy in Roller Coaster Rabbit. In the final show film, Trail Mix-Up, Roger fantasizes over her as a park ranger, calling her a "babe in the woods" and panting like a dog.
She also reappears after the filming of the short film Tummy Trouble, where Roger then goes home with her, to play, not tiddlywinks, canasta or parcheesi, but rather patty-cake.
Jessica, alongside the other central characters, appears in the graphic novel Resurrection of Doom. Jessica also appeared frequently in the subsequent Roger Rabbit comic book series, and she had her own feature in most issues of Roger Rabbit's Toontown, such as “Beauty Parlor Bedlam”, where she comes face to face with female weasel counterpart, Winnie.
With the success of the film and upon the opening of Disney-MGM Studios on May 1, 1989, the film's characters featured prominently in the company. After taking the Studio Backlot Tour, various props decorated the streets including two different photo opportunities with Jessica: a glittery cardboard cutout and "The Loony Bin" photoshop which allowed you to take pictures in costume standing next to an actual cartoon drawing of characters from the film. There was also a plethora of merchandise including Jessica rub-on stickers called "pressers".
In 2000, Disney-MGM Studios stopped using any character memorabilia in the park, though some props are still present. These include a Maroon Cartoons billboard featuring Roger, Jessica, and Baby Herman across from the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! show Eddie's office, and a cut-out of Roger on the blinds of a neighboring window near the 50s Prime Time Café, and the "ton of bricks" hanging near the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids: Movie Set Adventure.
In 2013, as part of the Disney Dreamers Everywhere special event at Disneyland Paris, Jessica made her first appearance as a walk-around character in any Disney park alongside Roger and Eddie. (However, some fans have expressed criticism for her not being a "face" character).
Jessica also plays a large role in the Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin attraction. She can first be seen tied up in the trunk of the Toon Patrol's car and then later with a giant mallet making her escape. in 2021, the trunk scene was removed as part of Cultural Sensitivity updates and a larger plan to reconfigure the attraction's story into giving Jessica a more proactive role as a detective out to foil the Toon Patrol's plot.
A Jessica Rabbit store, entitled "Jessica's", was once part of Pleasure Island, Disney's nightclub attraction and shopping area. It featured nothing but Jessica merchandise, from her signature nightgowns and jewelry to shower curtains and beach towels. A giant 2-sided neon Jessica signs with a sequined dress and swinging leg sat atop the light purple colored building. A floor-to-ceiling windowed corner of the store allowed light to shine in during the day. Another corner of the store had a large stage door with her name on it. The inside was art deco in style and was very similar to designs used in the film's Ink and Paint Club scene.
There was a cardboard cutout of Jessica reclining above the cash register area and another of her, Roger and Benny. Cast members wore regular uniforms, and there were no special shopping bags or print material for the store other than mentioned in the Pleasure Island guide map where they invited people to visit. It was abruptly closed sometime in 1992. The large neon Jessica sign was relocated to another area of the park alongside a "Pleasure Island Tonight!" sign where it stayed for many years until it was removed in June 2006. Tomart's Disneyana Magazine #66 featured a special article about the store complete with merchandise pictures and interior photos.
Jessica appeared in one incarnation of the show with Roger and Eddie. She apparently was the only one to cheer up Scrooge McDuck with her "jokes."
- According to Gary K. Wolf, the original creator of Jessica in his book Who Censored Roger Rabbit, she is based on Droopy's girlfriend, Red Hot Riding Hood/Miss Vavoom (a cartoon character he lusted after as a boy), Tinker Bell (her attitude), and Marilyn Monroe (her design).
- Some test footage showed a different Jessica, voiced by Russi Taylor, the previous voice of Minnie Mouse.
- Jessica's dress was originally going to sparkle all through the film, but this would have been too expensive at the time. It was done for only her "Why Don't You Do Right" scene, and after that it was put down to stage lighting.
- In 2008, Jessica was selected by Empire Magazine as one of The 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time.
- For her 2010 Halloween show (partially played in 3D), Rachael Ray and her husband dress as Roger and Jessica.
- In the first Tiny Toon Adventures episode, Babs Bunny turns into Jessica and Buster Bunny mentions Roger. In another episode, she made a cameo riding in a limo with Roger (with him voiced by Steven Spielberg).
- Jessica has her own website at ImNotBad.com.
- The "Oh My God" music video featuring Lily Allen as an animated femme fatale is based on the famous "Why Don't You Do Right" scene.
- There is an old photo seen in the background in the movie, revealing what Jessica was really supposed to look like. In it, she is given a dress that covers her cleavage and neck, shorter gloves, and Kathleen Turner's features and hair.
- When concepts for a Roger Rabbit sequel were being tossed around in the early 90s, Jessica was going to be shown as a Nazi spy, before she meets Roger and later becomes his wife, thus a star.
- In the original release of the film, there was a brief scene of nudity when Judge Doom tipped the Dip onto the road and Benny drove into it; when Jessica and Eddie went flying from the crash, a few frames of her without underwear can be seen. This was altered in the home video and DVD release. Many adults complained about this, and it is rumored by many of them that "Writers drew Jessica without clothing".
- Jessica was of German descent in the book, whereas she is fully American in the film. However, as noted above, one of the planned sequels had her initially being a Nazi spy before falling for Roger, implying she was going to retain her German background.
- Jessica's "I'm not bad, I'm just drawn that way," was later used as the promotional poster tagline for Descendants.
- As noted above, her characterization in the book Who Censored Roger Rabbit (on which the film was loosely based), Jessica had the exact opposite characterization from the movie. In particular, she was revealed to be a porn star who also has been philandering, and has absolutely no loyalty or love for Roger (though similar to the movie, she ultimately had no actual direct involvement in his trouble). This ultimately ended up being retconned in later books beginning with Who P-P-P-Plugged Roger Rabbit? to have her be closer to how she acted in the film, while her characterization in the first book was due to a dream she had.
- The newspaper version of the "patty cake" picture uses an earlier drawing of Jessica. This is because this scene was filmed before her design was changed.
- Jessica Rabbit (alongside Miss Piggy) got her own makeup line by Ciaté London.