I WANT YOU BACK is directed by Jason Orley. It stars Charlie Day, Jenny Slate, Gina Rodriguez, Scott Eastwood, Manny Jacinto and Mason Gooding, and was released to Amazon Prime on Friday, February 11, 2022.

Emma, a dental receptionist, and Peter, who works in a senior citizen housing complex, work in the same office suites. Both of them have been dumped by their respective partners, and find themselves alone and wanting their former lovers back. What follows is a scheme in which the twosome goes undercover in each other’s former partners’ lives, concocting a scheme to get back together with them. But will they get in over their heads, and what’ll happen if their former lovers become aware of this scheme?

Valentine’s Day is always the time from romantic comedies. They’re a dime a dozen this time of year, and it seems like so many of them are disposable and forgettable, raking in ticket sales during the time of love, and the being forgotten as quickly as they’d come into theaters. I WANT YOU BACK is a surprisingly strong exception to the rule with a great sextet of core actors and supporting cast, and the perfect balance of touching romance and laugh-out-loud comedy. That it can deliver the latter without resorting to cheap laughs and gags further speaks to the movie’s effectiveness, even if it ends too abruptly and goes a bit too far with subplots and tertiary characters.

Probably the strongest quality of I WANT YOU BACK is the quality of the performances from its central characters. They’re relatable and their situation is sure to hit close to home for many viewer, even if most of us in the real world likely wouldn’t have the guts to pull the scheme they do here. You find yourself rooting for our two core central characters, wanting them to thrive and succeed as lovers, yet find yourself also hoping the two of them end up together. It’s hard to go into details describing the characters and their plights without reaching spoiler material, but I assure you it’s equal parts heartwarming and hilarious.

The tone of the material is perfect as well. Rom-coms struggle to find that balance between romantic and comedic elements, and I WANT YOU BACK hits the nail on the head from its opening scene to its all-too-abrupt conclusion. I was laughing quite hard throughout the events of the movie unfolding, but these laughs are earned since the screenplay doesn’t just go for the cheapest and fastest laughs. Very rarely does the material feel dumbed down or lackluster when it comes to getting laugher from the audience – the public screening I saw the movie at was filled with non-stop laughter.

The only places I WANT YOU BACK falls flat is its rushed conclusion and the tertiary characters and unneeded subplots. Several of the subplots and side characters likely could’ve been removed for pacing purposes; many of them become one-joke characters and punchlines as a result (luckily this isn’t the norm for the central cast). The film’s final scene puts it in slightly more predictable territory and hinges on a line of dialogue from earlier in the movie, but its effectiveness is debatable. That said, the movie actually did manage to challenge me and defy expectations in places despite that.

I WANT YOU BACK succeeds more often than it falters. It’s that rare Valentine’s Day rom-com that’s actually a solid release worth checking out. If you’ve got Amazon Prime and you want to laugh, it’s a solid flick.






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