As I state in my review for Marry Me, two romantic comedies are available beginning the weekend before Valentine’s Day. While I moderately like that movie, the better, more realistic and thoroughly entertaining movie is I Want You Back, an unorthodox, but solidly written and directed comedy starring Charlie Day and Jenny Slate. I had the pleasure of screening the film in a movie theater; however, it will solely be available for streaming on Amazon Prime. While it is a perfectly fine movie to watch at home, I sincerely feel that it deserves the theatrical treatment, along with the big box office receipts to boost its success.
Charlie Day and Jenny Slate star as Peter and Emma, two adults who have recently dumped by their respective mates. Depressed and desperate to win their loves back, the two fatefully meet in a stairwell of the office building where they work. Though they have never previously met, Emma and Peter soon realize that they’ve had similar experiences and bond over their recent heartbreak. Unable to move on and see themselves starting over, the selfish and immature duo decide to team up and destroy the new relationships of their former lovers.
Written by Isaac Aptaker, Elizabeth Berger, and directed by Jason Orley, I Want You Back, in a lot of ways, is an anti-romantic-comedy. It is an often hilarious, and occasionally wild, movie that almost comes across as trying to not be romantic at all. Considering that the premise is all about breaking up loving couples, the movie refreshingly takes a more subtle and nuianced approach to the romance factor in the story. It very realistically portrays the more selfish aspects of relationships and also acknowledges that what people often really need is usually right in front of them. However, they’re looking in the exact opposite direction.
Both Jenny Slate and Charlie Day are an absolute riot and are actually quite likable, despite their childish and selfish plot to get back together with their exes. The two comedic actors share a great chemistry that makes them credible as friends, confidants, and potentially more. As Peter and Emma’s exes, both Scott Eastwood and Gina Rodriguez are great as Noah and Anne. The movie also features a sometimes uproariously funny turn by Manny Jacinto, Anne’s new romantic partner, who is a pretentious theater teacher for children, and someone who is definitely full of himself. Clark Backo is fine as Noah’s new love Ginny, but the character doesn’t really have anything to do in the film other than fill the necessary role.
If this movie were getting a theatrical release in addition to the streaming option, I would encourage my readers to see it in the theater. It is certainly an atypical rom-com, so if looking to spark romance on Valentine’s Day, then perhaps this is not the right one. However, if looking for a hilarious and fun comedy with some actual depth and growth on the part of the protagonists, I Want You Back is a must-see. It is a comedy that friends or lovers can enjoy on Valentine’s Day or pretty much any day of the year.