Film: ‘I Want You Back’ (Streaming on Amazon Prime). Duration: 111 minutes.
Director: Jason Orley. Cast: Charlie Day, Jenny Slate, Gina Rodriguez, Scott Eastwood, Manny Jacinto, Clark Backo, Jami Gertz, Dylan Gelula, Mason Gooding, Isabel May and Luke David Blumm.
IANS Rating: **1/2
With Valentine’s Day round the corner, love is in the air, and if you are a romance addict hooked to cute tales of love, life, and happily-ever-after endings, despite them being formulaic or cliched, then ‘I Want You Back’ is the film for you.
Packed with cute, loveable and slightly mature characters, the film is a tale of broken hearts mending each other.
Peter (Charlie Day) works for an organisation dealing with housing for senior citizens. He has been in a relationship with Anne (Gina Rodriguez), who teaches English, for six long years. And Emma (Jenny Slate), a receptionist at a dental clinic, was involved with Noah (Scott Eastwood), a personal fitness trainer, for 18 months.
They unexpectedly find themselves going their separate ways on the same weekend after Anne tells Peter that she loves Logan (Manny Jacinto), a free-spirited dramatics teacher. And Noah tells Emma that he is in love with Ginny (Clark Backo), who makes healthy pies.
By a quirk of fate and unbeknownst to each other, Peter and Emma, two brooding strangers, meet on the staircase landing of their office building. Now in their thirties and terrified of starting all over again, the two of them hatch a desperate plot to destroy the current relationships of their exes and win them back.
How they go about it and whether they succeed in their endeavour forms the crux of the narrative.
The plot is formulaic, moving on a mildly dramatic graph with no layers to the story. But despite this, the narrative is engaging simply because the characters are earnest and endearing.
Topping the list is Jenny Slate as the charmingly old-fashioned, ‘slow-burn’ romantic whose mannerisms and subtle expressions make her a lovable character. Balancing her faultlessly is Peter as a complacent late realiser. Together, they make the perfect pair that you’d root for.
Gina Rodriguez, Manny Jacinto and Scott Eastwood are perfect foil characters who add that extra love and spice to the drama. Clark Backo as Ginny, with little screen time, is short-changed by the script. She hardly has anything to offer in histrionics.
Overall, the film is significantly appealing, and the assisting of the oxygen mask during the turbulence while in the aircraft is a beautiful metaphor used to explain true love.