REVIEW: Rom-com movie ‘I Want You Back’ sees Charlie Day & Jenny Slate unable to move on after getting dumped
SALT LAKE CITY — There’s only so many ways a romantic comedy can end. Most of the time the question is not who is going to end up together, the question is how.
So, the new rom-com I Want You Back starring Charlie Day (“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”) and Jenny Slate (“Parks and Recreation“) deserves credit for managing to keep the “who will end up together” resolution somewhat uncertain for more of the movie than you might expect.
Newly-dumped thirty-somethings Peter (Day) and Emma (Slate) meet for the first time while crying over their respective breakups in the stairwell of the office building in which they both work.
Peter is a nice guy with a good-paying job and is a faithful boyfriend of six years to his schoolteacher girlfriend Anne (Gina Rodriguez) when she suddenly dumps him at a kids birthday party, saying he’s too predictable.
Emma’s fitness-instructor boyfriend Noah (Scott Eastwood) dumps her while they’re at dinner together, saying she doesn’t really have her life together.
After seeing pictures of their exes with new partners on social media, Peter and Emma decide to team up and hopefully sabotage those new relationships, which they figure will bring their former lovers back into their arms.
THINGS I LIKED
If you’re going to be a comedy, you better be funny. Thankfully, the script from Issac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger puts the talented comedic actors Day and Slate into some pretty hilarious situations that allows them to play to their strengths. Like Slate wandering in to help with production of a junior high musical, or Day trying to befriend Slate’s ex-boyfriend by joining his gym.
Day’s not doing anything you haven’t seen him do before in some of his other roles like Horrible Bosses or “Sunny”, but he does have the self-deprecating everyman role down perfectly.
I was impressed with how well Slate carried her lead role. I knew she was funny (though some might find her style to be an acquired taste) but she also did a believable job with the dramatic portions of her character arc. I had no idea she could sing “Suddenly Seymour” from Little Shop of Horrors so well, either.
I Want You Back is rated R for language, sexual material, some drug use and partial nudity. While I was glad the movie didn’t go for the gross-out type humor that so many comedy films today seem to love, it still wasn’t safe for kids or young teens. The movie’s run time is 1 hour & 51 minutes.
While this movie may not be for everyone, the sharp comedic writing and talents of the cast help elevate I Want You Back into something much more enjoyable than it could have been. I laughed out loud multiple times through the movie and found Slate especially to be charming and sincere. I also liked the somewhat ambiguous way the film ended, leaving a little bit of the resolution to your own imagination.
Final rating: THREE out of FOUR stars
WHERE TO WATCH
Even though the studio screened I Want You Back to critics in the theater, the movie is a streaming exclusive on Prime Video, free to subscribers.
Hopefully you & your family found this review helpful! Andy Farnsworth does a weekly “What To Watch” segment for the KSL 5 Today morning news show and also hosts the Fan Effect podcast for KSL NewsRadio. Check out his other in-depth reviews of movies and streaming TV series on KSLTV.com.
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