I WANT YOU BACK (AMAZON PRIME) (2022)
SYNOPSIS: Peter (Charlie Day) and Emma (Jenny Slate) thought they were on the precipice of life’s biggest moments – marriage, kids, and houses in the suburbs – until their respective partners dumped them. Horrified to learn that the loves of their lives have already moved on, Peter and Emma hatch a hilarious plan to win back their exes with unexpected results.
The fresh pairing of Charlie Day and Jenny Slate makes I Want You Back a decent watch this Valentine’s Day. By decent, we mean it functions as a modest harmless rom-com.
Emma (Slate) is left heartbroken after her boyfriend, Noah (Scott Eastwood) finds that she is lacking a direction in her life and left her for a Bakery owner, Ginny (Clark Backo). Peter (Day) on the other hand is left heartbroken after his girlfriend, Anna (Gina Rodriguez) broke up with him after finding love in the form of her artsy colleague, Logan (Manny Jacinto).
Their unexpected breakups however brought Emma and Peter together as platonic friends because somehow they shared the same office building. Calling themselves "The Sadness Sisters", the two heartbroken lovebirds decide to hatch a plan to win back their exes by breaking up their new relationships respectively. Peter registers at the gym where Noah works at and attempts to convince him that Emma is the woman for him while Emma volunteers at the school where Anna and Logan teaches and begins to win over Logan by pretending to be in love with theatre.
In the hands of less capable filmmakers, I Want You Back might easily turned into a rowdy, raunchy comedy. There’s a hilarious hot tub jumping scene and a subsequent awkward threesome that nearly falls into the category. Fortunately, director Jason Orley and his screenwriters are more interested in developing the various characters into breathing, believable human beings than a bunch of clowning goons. Peter is a goody-two shoes who hopes to one day come up with his own affordable, livable retirement homes and Emma is a big-hearted lady who simply needs someone to believe in her.
Of course, I Want You Back has no lack of romance clichés such as watching a movie that is three decades old (that’s a funny dig at a Nicolas Cage movie by the way), heart to heart talk at a diner and confessing their dreams to each other. Typical sweet romantic stuff where the supposedly meant together protagonists has yet developed or realized their feelings for each other. Despite being a tad overlong, there’s a genuine chemistry between Day and Slate that actually makes the whole affair endearing and charming.
Just like any typical Valentine’s Day, you might not exactly remember I Want You Back the day after. But for all it’s worth, the rom-com is perfect for a night of cuddling and champagne at home. Don’t forget the roses as well.
Review by Linus Tee