"Newly dumped thirty-somethings Peter and Emma team up to sabotage their exes' new relationships and win them back for good."
- just don't call it a rom-com!
"I Want You Back" is rated R for language, sexual material, some drug use, and partial nudity... but don't let that stop you!
It stars Charlie Day, Jenny Slate, Gina Rodriguez, and Scott Eastwood. And even though it obeys the first law of the rom-com -
that the couple ends up together - it gets there in unexpected ways.
"I Want You Back" is almost an anti-romantic comedy. In fact, it's only listed as a comedy on IMDB, because it kind of chucks the romance out the window in favor of the funny. It's far funnier than I expected, although I'll bet it could have been even funnier if Slate and Day were allowed to stretch more since they have great comedic timing and chemistry, and their unlikely lead role casting strengthens their underdog status.
The surrounding cast is actually given a fair amount to do, even in their supporting roles, and they do it well.
There's also a small subplot or two for kicks, but that may have also contributed to its unwise run time.
It's a touch long, and it feels sluggish here and there. But otherwise, it's a good time, although critics seem to be more on board than the audience.
I think that's because the audience was expecting a standard rom-com rather than a straight-up comedy that ran a touch too long.
But still! A "B" from me for "I Want You Back," making it Bonaduce Approved!
In "Marry Me," a pop music superstar played by Jennifer Lopez is set to get married before a global audience of fans.
But when she finds out her betrothed is unfaithful she instead decides to marry Charlie, a stranger in the crowd, played by Owen Wilson.
As Lopez herself said in my interview with her, she likes rom coms but she recognizes that you have to switch it up and make the jourmey different since the destination is usually the same - the couple in question ends up together. So yeah, you know where this is going.
But is the journey really all that different? Not really, but it's also not awful; I would say this movie is a harmless Valentine's diversion.
But like "I Want You Back," maybe it shouldn't be thought of as a rom-com at all, even though it's somewhat listed that way on IMDB
because much of the Rom doesn't happen until the third act, and it's pretty light on the Com. It's just not that funny,
even with the likes of Sarah Silverman involved. I'll bet no improvisation was allowed, and so the cast was hampered by a script
full of missed comedic opportunities. In fact, most of the funny stuff is in the trailer and in the credit roll. It also has questionable musical numbers since most of the songs were so uncomfortably laughable they only work as a parody of today's shallow social-media-driven music scene.
But "Marry Me" does have a lot of heart, I'll give it that. And that carries it a long way, especially with a general audience. But with critics like me,
not so much. I think "Marry Me" played it too safe and certainly wasn't fun enough to make its 112 minutes fly by.
I give it a just above average " C + " because although it does have a lot of heart; it doesn't have a lot of jokes.