Movie review: I Want You Back just doesn’t reinvent the wheel

Charlie Day and Jenny Slate provide the good vibes in this Valentine’s Day offering

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Just in time for Valentine’s Day comes a new rom-com that opens with two scenes of – our protagonists getting dumped by loved ones? What is this?

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If you have just arrived on this planet, I urge you to stay with I want you to come back, as there will be sporadic laughter and eventual joy and a bit of Pete Davidson and some degree of lasting happiness for most if not all of the characters. Co-writers Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger – the team behind This is us, how I met your father and Love, Victor – know what they are doing.

Also what they don’t do is reinvent the wheel. I want you to come back is a very standard love-seeking story with minimal moving parts.

For starters, Peter (Charlie Day) has been dumped by his girlfriend of six years, Anne (Gina Rodriguez). And Emma (Jenny Slate) was also let go by Noah (Scott Eastwood) after 18 months together. Before long, the exes are seeing new people (Manny Jacinto as Logan, Clark Backo as Ginny, respectively). Peter and Emma are devastated.

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The two happen to work in the same office building and met in the stairwell, where each went quietly sobbing. With so much in common (!), they decide to form an organization – you could call it the Misery Loves Company – with the goal of getting their exes back. Each will infiltrate a new relationship and break it from the inside. What could go wrong?

A lot, in fact, but also nothing too serious. And all the while, Emma and Peter become very good friends; they call themselves the Sadness Sisters, in one of many occasional emasculations of Day’s character.

Will Peter win back Anne’s heart? Will Noah see the error of his ways and return to Emma’s side? Will Logan and Ginny maybe meet and get along? Will the six of them get together and create a law firm where everyone uses only their first name? Or maybe they’ll plan a casino robbery?

Don’t expect anything too crazy. Enjoy the Slate-and-Day show, as the two actors have great chemistry and that guy/girl-next-door vibe that’s more valuable than Bitcoin when it comes to movie romances.

And don’t complain too much about how you can see where it’s all going. Sometimes all you want at this time of year is the certainty that February 14 follows February 13. Sometimes that’s enough.

I Want You Back is available February 11 on Prime Video.

3 out of 5 stars

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