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I Want You Back movie review: Likable Charlie Day, Jenny Slate make this banal rom-com worthwhile

Rating: 3 out of 5

I Want You Back movie review: Because of the humanity and warmth that Charlie Day and Jenny Slate bring to their characters, and clever, flowing dialogue, the movie has a real companionable charm and offers several worthwhile moments.

I Want You Back, charlie day, jenny slateI Want You Back movie review: This rom-com is enjoyable largely because of Charlie Day and Jenny Slate. (Photo: Amazon Studios)

I Want You Back movie director: Jason Orley
I Want You Back movie cast: Charlie Day, Jenny Slate, Gina Rodriguez, Scott Eastwood, and Manny Jacinto
I Want You Back movie rating: 3 stars

The 30-something leads of Jason Orley’s romantic comedy, I Want You Back, played by Charlie Day and Jenny Slate, are dumped by their lovers in the first few minutes. It is a hilarious, impressively written cold opening (Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger are the screenwriters), but sadly the rest of the movie descends into rom-com conceits.

Everything is not lost, though.

Employed in different firms but having offices in the same building, Peter (Day) and Emma (Slate) find each other as they are mourning the abrupt end of their respective relationships, and bond over their common misery.

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They become close pals but are still not over their fresh heartbreaks. After a drunken session of karaoke, they devise ways to get their better halves back. To help Peter, Emma unleashes her seduction skills on Logan (Manny Jacinto), the new boyfriend of Peter’s former lover Anne (Gina Rodriguez).

I Want You Back features a classic rom-com setup and does not do a whole lot to reinvent the genre. (Photo: Amazon Studios)

Emma, however, does not trust Peter’s skills in that regard, so he befriends her ex, Noah (Scott Eastwood), so as to convince him to go back to her. Emma manages to put off Anne from Logan and make her fall into the arms of Peter again. Peter’s sincere but feeble attempts only make Noah fall in love all the more with his new girlfriend Ginny (Clark Backo), and he proposes.

Peter is back with Anne but does not appear to be happy. Emma is unhappy too, but not because of Noah’s proposal and impending marriage, but because Peter has asked her never to see him, for that would bring to light their schemes.

I Want You Back is perfectly enjoyable to watch with your better half (or alone, if that’s your thing). (Photo: Amazon Studios)

You can probably see where this is going. I Want You Back features a classic rom-com setup and does not do a whole lot to reinvent the genre. It is thus a rom-com in the classical sense.  Unless rom-coms are your comfort food, and you explicitly wish for all those all-too-familiar elements, I Want You Back’s story will probably not delight you. There is little in the plot of this movie that took this scribe by surprise.

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It also feels a touch long. Especially towards the end, around the 90-minute mark, the script plods along and one gets the feeling that the story should have ended a while ago.

But thanks mainly to the leads, whatever your predilection about the genre, I Want You Back is perfectly enjoyable to watch with your better half (or alone, if that’s your thing). Because of the humanity and warmth that Day and Slate bring to their characters, and clever, flowing dialogue, the movie has a real companionable charm and offers several worthwhile moments. Just do not expect anything particularly inventive.

First published on: 13-02-2022 at 08:07:50 am
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