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Life Style: Review: ‘I Want You Back’ delivers the feel-good vibes audiences want


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Thu, 2022-02-24 08:58

LONDON: One of the best things about rom-coms — or the worst, depending on your fondness/disdain for the genre — is their predictability. The familiarity of the numerous tropes, the telegraphed plot twists and the inevitable big romantic flourish in the final third are what make these movies so thoroughly beloved. And what make them so often and thoroughly recycled.

Prime Video’s latest, “I Want You Back,” is no exception. It has all the comforting, familiar elements of a fairly standard romantic comedy: A relatable setup, some amusing set pieces, an aesthetically pleasing supporting cast with clearly defined ‘nice’ and ‘not-so-nice’ roles, and a final showdown involving some big feelings. 


Charlie Day and Jenny Slate star as Peter and Emma. (Supplied)

But what this movie also has — and what elevates it above the majority of so-so rom-coms — is two lead actors capable of carrying the entire film on their own. Charlie Day (“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”) and Jenny Slate (“Bob’s Burgers”) star as Peter and Emma, a pair of recently dumped singletons. Consoling each other through their misery, the two hatch a plan to cooperatively sabotage their exes’ new relationships, hoping that doing so will enable them to rekindle their lost loves. Day and Slate imbue Peter and Emma with charisma and depth, and spark off one another with seemingly genuine affection, making the two leads far more than mere vehicles for gags. The talented supporting cast (which includes Scott Eastwood, Gina Rodriguez and, in a pair of hilarious cameos, Pete Davidson and Ben McKenzie) are similarly fun to watch, and provide the perfect backdrop for the snappy script.

“I Want You Back” does, however, stop short of bucking the conventionalized wisdom of the genre; while there are times you believe that it may do something novel with its big happy ending, director Jason Orley knows what his audience wants, dropping hints throughout that everything will get tied up in a neat bow. 

As such, the final showdown stretches credulity a little, but ultimately delivers the feel-good conclusion it was always likely to. And that, honestly, we all wanted.

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