THE CHARLIE DAY AND JENNY SLATE ROM-COM IS NOW STREAMING ON PRIME VIDEO
What the world needs now is love, sweet love, so Charlie Day and Jenny Slate have come to our rescue. The “Always Sunny in Philadelphia” star makes his debut as a leading man in a rom-com as Peter in “I Want You Back.” Slate, whose 2009-2010 “Saturday Night Live” run turned her into one of comedy’s leading females, stars as Emma. In the film, Peter and Emma meet just after the loves of their lives end their relationships, so they team up in an effort to win them back. Together, the pair have tapped into a recipe for chemistry that redefines the modern-day romantic comedy. “I Want You Back” reimagines the genre for a new generation.
Since the days of Nora Ephron’s filmmaking mastery in classics such as “When Harry Met Sally” – which seems to be at the top of everyone’s favorite rom-com list – a good romantic comedy can be hard to come by. Particularly in the last decade when most have become somewhat predictable and formulaic.
Not only do Day and Slate bring a fresh take to the screen, but Scott Eastwood (Noah), and Gina Rodriguez (Anne), who play their respective exes, make the movie even more enjoyable by bringing these very relatable characters to life. Clark Backo (Ginny) and Manny Jacinto (Logan) play the exes’ new partners, respectively. Both Backo and Jacinto’s approach is so disarming that audiences may find themselves rooting for them – even when it means heartbreak for Peter and Emma. Fellow “SNL” star Pete Davidson also makes a cameo here, and yes, while he and Day meet with opposition on screen, you’ll want to root for him, too. The charm of each character is undeniable, making you wish that they all find true love.
Under the direction of Jason Orley (“Big Time Adolescence”) and “This Is Us” writers/producers Elizabeth Berger and Isaac Aptaker, the cast of “I Want You Back” throw the old rom-com on its head. Adding to the mix is “This Is Us” composer Siddhartha Khosla, who tapped Mandy Moore and husband Taylor Goldsmith of the band Dawes to create original music for the film. All together, it makes “I Want You Back” a movie bound to capture hearts.
For the cast, much like their characters, it started with the connection. During the “I Want You Back” press conference, Slate revealed that finding out who the cast was made it an easy decision to do the film. Although Day and Slate had only met in passing, Day was already a fan, so getting along was seamless in many ways.
One relationship in particular that pops on screen is the unexpected bromance between Peter (Day) and Noah (Eastwood). “I Want You Back” is Day and Eastwood’s second film together. “We pretty much have always hung and got along well,” Day said during the conference. “And I was excited that Scott got to do a comedic movie.”
Day also applauded director Jason Orley for grounding performances and his approach to comedic scenes, saying that he set the tone. Orley pointed out that both the rom-com and dramatic aspects of the film come from a place of genuine emotion. You can take out the jokes, and there’s still a great movie there. Breakups are relatable. That’s what makes it funny. The magic ingredients come from a balance of understanding that comedy comes from vulnerability. Being able to cry and laugh is at the heart of every good story.
Certainly, there were a lot of standout moments in the movie that made it a good story. Jacinto hones in perfectly on his drama teacher character’s eccentric nature. Backo plays her part so honestly that it is impossible to villainize her. Slate makes her singing debut in the film, with a show-stopping performance of “Suddenly Seymour” from “Little Shop of Horrors” – which was only approved after writing a letter to composer Alan Menkin.
Eastwood noted that he laughed out loud when he read the script. There are no archetypal characters. This is an excellent movie when it comes to making people fall in love with flaws. All of the actors do an incredible job at making you like them. They’re just regular people you could be friends with – with a “Cruel Intentions” twist. It drives home the point that everyone deserves love, especially when they’re not at their best.
Would you go to your ex’s wedding? How do you deal with a breakup? While those choices are ultimately up to the individual, this movie shows you the bigger picture – that there is a gift in grieving a lost relationship. You’ve got to find yourself before you can find love with someone else. Happiness starts from within.
Of course, if all else fails, you can always team up with someone you find attractive in some wild attempt to get your ex back. Then again, as Slate and Day so fantastically demonstrate, sometimes all you really need to feel better is a few drinks at a karaoke bar and a trusted shoulder to cry on.
“I Want You Back” is streaming on Amazon Prime Video now. It’s perfect for watching on Valentine’s Day. After all of the twists and turns, you’ll walk away in love with love again.
Published with Hollywood First Look