What we’re obsessed with right now: ‘I Want You Back’
Streaming on Amazon Prime Video, the romantic comedy shines thanks to the performances of Jenny Slate and Charlie Day
San Diego Union-Tribune editors and writers share what they’re currently obsessing over.
What I’m obsessed with: “I Want You Back,” a romantic comedy directed by Jason Orley that stars Jenny Slate and Charlie Day. The film, released by Amazon Studios just before Valentine’s Day on Feb. 11, tells the tale of two heartbroken strangers who bond over their shared misfortune and formulate a scheme to win their ex-lovers back.
Why? I’ll watch anything that Slate’s involved with — I find the actress incredibly endearing and talented. From her short children’s film “Marcel the Shell with Shoes On” to her humorous memoir “Little Weirds,” Slate’s CV is impressive and well-rounded. So when she announced her upcoming rom-com, I immediately added the movie to my watchlist.
Same, but different: I assumed “I Want You Back” would exhibit the indie flair of Slate’s past work, like the Gillian Robespierre-directed films “Obvious Child” and “Landline.” Instead, this rom-com sticks to the standard format and embraces many of the genre’s tropes, including (spoiler alert) the main characters inevitably falling for each other. However, having Slate — and the equally talented Day — step into those traditional rom-com roles reignited the genre for me.
Power duo: While the supporting cast was a little underwhelming, Slate and Day’s performances more than compensated. I’d never think to play cupid with these two actors, but the on-screen chemistry proved a perfect match (kudos to the casting director, John Papsidera).
Quick wit: The screenwriters (Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger) also deserve a round of applause; the post-heartbreak banter between the self-described “Sadness Sisters” is witty and unexpected. Exhibit A: When a drunken Slate considers her singledom at the karaoke bar, she says: “Dying alone is not that bad. Like, why do you want someone to watch you die? That’s actually embarrassing,” to which Day eagerly agrees.
It’s the little things: In addition to Slate and Day’s performances, the small (and sometimes absurd) details are what makes this rom-com stand out for me. Like when a mourning Slate skips throwing her ex’s clothes out the window and instead dumps his protein powder down the drain (which blows up in her face, like a cloud of smoke). Or when, in a scene at the movie theater, they swap the expected rom-com-within-a-rom-com for the 1997 action flick “Con Air” starring Nicolas Cage. Why “Con Air”? It had no connection to the plot or characters, and it never is addressed again. But I absolutely loved it.
Get ready for ... a long movie. I was not expecting this to clock in at nearly two hours. While I think it could have been cut to 90 minutes, I won’t complain about extra screen time for Slate and Day. Plus, it gives the movie enough time to throw in a Pete Davidson cameo.
“I Want You Back” is available to watch on Amazon Prime Video.
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