Prime Video is serving up a rom-com this weekend with the Amazon Original “I Want You Back” and while it may not exactly be original. It does manage to layer on plenty of charming pieces to craft a comedic romance filled with genuine humor and a charming story of love. Peter (Charlie Day) and Emma (Jenny Slate) have recently been dumped and when life seems at its lowest, they stumble into one another. A friendship forms and when the plan of breaking up their ex’s new relationship begins to pan out, the result is a string of amusingly awkward situations.
There’s also a collection of genre clichés holding this script together as well, but surprisingly they didn’t get in the way of the charismatic performances, and from feeling the hope of seeing love win in the end, no matter how meet-cute it may be. It’s by-the-numbers in places, and sure the predictability is solidified if you’ve seen rom-coms in the past.
But there is a natural sense of humor in the writing that results in frequent laughs. Peter and Emma are a couple of common people, they are written like a couple of normal humans, and both Day and Slate fill them with plenty of personality. Sure, they are both playing themselves, but this isn’t exactly a film requiring deep character performances as much as it requires charisma.
This is a love story that needs authentic characters the audience can engage with and invest in. So, Day and Slate just being themselves is more than enough to connect with. They’re both on, but they also tone it down to where neither feels like they’re working a schtick, or routine. They aren’t trying too hard; their comedic timing together was smooth and, in the end, just right for the story needs.
The energy they bring gives the entire film a light, feel-good vibe, and that’s more than enough. Now, it does run longer than needed. A tight 90-minutes would have cleaned up some of the lulls in the pacing. But the supporting cast led by Scott Eastwood and Gina Rodriguez along with plenty of subplots does keep the engagement level up. It’s a comical exploration of the dating world in your 30’s and “I Want You Back” was much more fun than I expected.
It doesn’t rely on crude humor. It relies on the lives of the characters, the humorous and at times awkwardly hilarious situations their journeys to love take them on and it was entertaining. “I Want You Back” is easily a film that could be overlooked but I certainly recommend giving it a shot. I sat back and before I knew it, I was invested in the lives of these characters, feeling their emotions with them, and taking the ride on the love train. Which was more than enough to compensate for some of its borrowed elements.
Anthony J. Digioia II © 2022 SilverScreen Analysis. All Rights Reserved.