While Jennifer Lopez’s ‘Marry Me’ may have set rom coms back to the 1970s, there is a much better rom-com available on Amazon Prime based on the fact the lead actors are actually likable.
Getting dumped sucks. Imagine getting dumped on the same day that someone else got dumped. Now imagine becoming friends with that person and teaming up to get your exes back…This leads us to ‘I Want You Back’.
Set in the city of Atlanta, Peter (Charlie Day) and Emma (Jenny Slate) are both pushing 40 and just got dumped by their significant others. Peter’s girlfriend Anne (Gina Rodriguez) feels stifled by the complacency of their 6-year relationship, and Emma’s boyfriend Noah (Scott Eastwood) is discouraged by her lack of responsibility. The two meet up and decide to help each other through their breakups until they come up with a plan to get back with their exes. The problem is their exes have already moved on and breaking them up will be much harder than they realize.
Charlie Day and Jenny Slate have great comedic chemistry to mask their lack of romantic chemistry. In any other movie, that could be a death sentence, especially in the rom-com genre (Look at the 2020s ‘The Lovebirds’). However, Day & Slate have such a great charm, their personality outweighs some of the bigger plot holes in the story. Day and Slate have proven comedic chops, Day has been a mainstay on Always Sunny in Philadelphia for over 15 years and Slate has starred in numerous comedic roles as well as her own Netflix stand-up special.
Emma in the story is a burnout who lives with two college-aged roommates as she works a dead-end admin job. Meanwhile, Peter fights the label of being “boring” due to not having any exciting prospects in his life. The central plan is for Emma to seduce Anne’s new boyfriend Logan (Jacinto) while Peter will become friends with Noah so that he can sway him off of his new girlfriend Ginny’s path. The characters are forced to face some serious self-reflection in their lives and the tough decision of moving on from their pasts.
One of the biggest vices of romcoms is the extreme predictability of the protagonists realizing that they are a better fit for each other than the people they are chasing. What ‘I Want You Back’ focuses on is character development that creates well-rounded characters and a balanced story. None of the characters are portrayed in a negative or positive light. They are all given their own story and you come to realize that everyone has different needs at different stages of their lives.
For an Amazon film, the film is well shot with some solid cinematography and impressive sets. As a movie, ‘I Want You Back’ is one of the better finds in Amazon’s library of content. Despite a tired concept, Day & Slate makes the experience charming and enjoyable.