I Want You Back is a ‘modern’ rom-com meaning it’s a little crude, a little off-kilter, very funny and still entirely predictable. But that’s ok because the ending of I Want You Back is far less important than the journey. Starring Charlie Day (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia), Jenny Slate (House of Lies), Gina Rodriguez (Jane the Virgin) and Scott Eastwood (Wrath of Man), I Want You Back is charming and endearing and just silly enough to be likable.
Both Peter (Day) and Emma (Slate) are dumped by the “loves of their lives” — Anne (Rodriguez) and Noah(Eastwood) — and meet soon afterwards, bonding over their shared misery. Through their shared grief, lots of alcohol and some Alanis Morrisette karaoke, Peter and Emma hatch a plan to get their exes back.
I Want You Back Review
Emma will seduce Anne’s new boyfriend Logan, while Peter will befriend Logan and turn his eye away from his new girlfriend Ginny. Is their plan far-fetched? Absolutely. But is it something you might have cooked up with your friends one night after too many drinks and a doom-scroll of your exes Instagram? Definitely.
Emma and Peter are the beating heart of I Want You Back and the movie largely success thanks to their natural chemistry and likability. Day is at his quirky best, reining in his weirder and more-off putting instincts to play Peter pretty straight. He’s still really funny but he has an easy charm that allows him to shoulder much of the film. It’s no mean feat considering he’s sharing the screen with Scott Eastwood, a much more obvious leading man.
Slate is great as usual. She gives Emma just enough vulnerability to make her believable while also carrying a great deal of the film alongside Day. Her arc is more personal and more interesting and the sub-plot that sees her mentoring a troubled teen is great. It’s light but serves to round out her character.
Light is a keyword for I Want You Back. It doesn’t get bogged down in emotion or evaluating whether Emma and Peter are doing the right or wrong thing. Instead, it moves briskly, paced up to keep viewers entertained until the inevitable conclusion.
There is some depth to I Want You Back and it does fleetingly focus on the drift many people experience in their late 20s and early 30s. The societal pressures to find your person and your calling grow stronger the older you get and I Want You Back hones in on that as one of its key themes. By the end, everything gets wrapped up neatly, which is very unlike real life but satisfying in the context of a rom-com.
I mean, it’s the reason we watch these things. To escape from the pressures of everyday life and forget for a while. It’s not breaking any new ground but it is entertaining and well worth the time spent watching it. Highlights include an underage party with a great cameo by Pete Davidson and a “blink and you’ll miss it” appearance from an alum of The O.C. and an excruciating and hilarious rendition of Suddenly Seymour from Little Shop of Horrors.
I Want You Back is exactly the kind of easy-watching film you need to kick back, have a drink and snuggle up on the couch. It’s fun, silly, light and with just the right amount of heart.
I Want You Back is available exclusively on Prime Video on Friday, February 11, 2022.
A screener was provided by Prime Video for this review.