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December 21, 2021

Amazon releases trailer for Charlie Day, Jenny Slate comedy 'I Want You Back'

The 'Always Sunny in Philadelphia' star will step into a genre searching for its identity

The death of the romantic comedy has been a sore subject among nostalgic movie audiences who feel bombarded by tentpole superhero films and demanding dramas that deliver their laughs in small, usually dark doses.

There isn't just one reason for Hollywood's shift away from easygoing rom coms, which have been in an overall decline since 2009's "500 Days of Summer" deconstructed the genre in its own footprint. Some say rom coms flamed out in mediocrity, some believe they're bereft of good ideas, and more serious critics contend that the genre lost appeal with audiences who now expect films to engage more honestly with gender and class barriers to social mobility, as opposed to riding vapid stereotypes that speak to no one in particular. 

That may be true, but if there's one time of year studios can always count on an appetite for new rom coms, it's Valentine's Day. The occasion is just stupid enough to warrant simplistic movies that exaggerate the things we'll supposedly do for love. With the right cast and timing, it's still a formula that suits a cultural conscience fatigued by the work of making more urgent points. 

Charlie Day's performances in "Horrible Bosses" and in minor film roles always have suggested he has the potential to deliver the goods in a romantic comedy. In February, he'll get his chance alongside Jenny Slate.

Amazon unveiled its first trailer for "I Want You Back," an upcoming streamer that will follow a partnership between two scorned lovers (Day and Slate) who desperately plot to win back their exes by being terrible people.

How far "I Want You Back" will venture to really explore the existential problems of a break-up in your thirties is too difficult to glean from this trailer, but it looks as though Day and Slate should be a fresh pairing with supporting roles from Gina Rodriguez, Scott Eastwood, Manny Jacinto and Clark Backo.

There's been some wishful thinking over the past year that romantic comedies are poised for a revival whenever COVID-19 ceases to be such a hindrance to life. The thinking goes that people badly crave escapism, and the emergence of film debuts on streaming platforms during the pandemic will give studios a more reliable home for comedies in the years ahead.

"I Want You Back" will premiere on Amazon Prime on Feb. 11.