The Reel Review

B+

Newly dumped by their respective partners, a couple of strangers working in the same building concoct a scheme to ruin their exes’ new relationships and win them back, in this Amazon romantic comedy starring Jenny Slate, Charlie Day, Gina Rodriguez and Scott Eastwood.

Jenny Slate and Charlie Day in I Want You Back.

Even if you have seen only one rom-com in your entire life, you can easily guess how this very predictable film ends. But where it differs is in the writing duo of Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger (Love, Simon, This Is Us), who give the corny, paint-by-numbers format a fresh coat of paint, with edgier, more realistic scenarios and a lot of self-aware charm and humor. It’s Dangerous Liasons with a sunny gag reel, and fortunately for us, a much cheerier ending than the 1782 novel.

Clark Backo and Scott Eastwood in I Want You Back.

A convincing performance by the very likable Slate adds an aura of plausibility to the story, with Day (Fist Fight) holding his own as her co-conspirator always stuck in the friend zone. The ensemble cast is also good, with the hot tub scene featuring Pete Davidson among the film’s more hysterical moments. The feel-good film’s message, about the importance of finding a partner with whom you have a genuine connection, is a sweet one.

REEL FACTS

• In addition to her acting (Gifted, Girls, Parks and Recreation), Massachusetts native Jenny Slate also has had a prolific career in animated voice work, which includes Big Mouth, Zootopia, The Secret Life of Pets, Bob’s Burgers and Q Force.

Pete Davidson and Luke David Blumm in The King of Staten Island.

I Want You Back co-stars Pete Davidson and Luke David Blumm also both appeared in the Judd Apatow 2020 comedy The King of Staten Island.

I Want You Back was filmed in Atlanta.

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