I Want You Back parents guide

I Want You Back Parent Guide

Subversion of romantic tropes and cliched messaging makes this film fun, but profanity and sexual content will limit its audience.

Overall D+

Amazon: Peter and Emma meet as strangers going through the same ordeal: getting over a breakup. Wallowing in sadness together, they hatch a plan to sabotage their ex's new relationships.

Release date February 11, 2022

Violence A-
Sexual Content D
Profanity D
Substance Use D

Why is I Want You Back rated R? The MPAA rated I Want You Back R Language, sexual material, some drug use and partial nudity.

Run Time: 116 minutes

Parent Movie Review

Peter (Charlie Day) and Emma (Jenny Slate) have just been dumped by the partners they believe to be the loves of their lives. After a chance meeting, the two decide to help each other win their exes back. But as they delve further into their schemes, they begin to realize that maybe what they’re fighting for isn’t actually what they want.

There are a few essential elements to a successful rom-com: charming leads, attractive people, funny jokes, chemistry, and a heartwarming conclusion. I Want You Back has all those elements and more. Jenny Slate and Charlie Day are two of the funniest and most talented performers working today and together they are an unstoppable force. What makes the characters of Emma and Peter brilliant, however, isn’t just the talents of the actors. They are written to be realistic and relatable. They both make mistakes, they both have some growing up to do, and they aren’t afraid to be vulnerable and emotional. And as far as attractive people go, Manny Jacinto plays one of the supporting characters. Enough said.

Where I think this movie shines the brightest, outside of the characters and performances, is in its messaging. Is the plot predictable? Sure. Rom-com tropes abound throughout the story, but there are also some subtle subversions that make the predictability less noticeable. The main messages are about self-improvement, authenticity, and vulnerability. Emma and Peter choose to grow as people not just because they’re trying to impress their exes, but because they look at their own lives and realize they aren’t the people they want to be. They take steps to change, grow, and live their dreams because they come to understand and appreciate their own self-worth outside of romantic relationships. And I, for one, appreciate that message far more than the usual “change yourself to be worthy of love” theme we tend to get from Hollywood.

All that said, there is a lot of negative content here which is going to be a deal breaker for many viewers. There’s a large amount of swearing, drinking, and sexual content (including discussion of a threesome), as well as some drug use which involves adolescents. For those reasons, this is absolutely not a movie for teens, or for adults who are uncomfortable with any of the aforementioned topics. For rom-com fans who are less easily offended by negative content, this is a fun entry into the genre and one that I hope signals a change in the types of stories that get told moving forward.

Directed by Jason Orley. Starring Charlie Day, Jenny Slate, Scott Eastwood. Running time: 116 minutes. Theatrical release February 11, 2022. Updated

Watch the trailer for I Want You Back

I Want You Back
Rating & Content Info

Why is I Want You Back rated R? I Want You Back is rated R by the MPAA Language, sexual material, some drug use and partial nudity.

Violence: A man punches another man in the face.
Sexual Content: Adult couples kiss throughout. Some sexual innuendo. A couple can be heard having sex through the walls; this is played as comedic. A man’s bare butt can be seen. A couple have sex, mostly off screen, no nudity. A plot point revolves around a woman trying to have a threesome with a couple (though with no intention of going through with it) which leads to some sexual dialogue, kissing, and undressing.
Profanity: 20 uses of extreme language, as well as around 20 mild and moderate expletives and 35 uses of terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adults drink socially in many scenes. Adults are also seen drinking to excess to deal with their feelings. A man and woman attempt to smoke cigarettes, but don’t like it so they stop. A group of people take ecstasy pills, and we later find out that some of the group had lied about their age and are only 17.

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I Want You Back Parents' Guide

What does Peter decide to do after being encouraged by Emma and what does Emma decide to do because of Peter’s belief in her? How do they influence each other and what affect does that have on their lives?

Home Video

Related home video titles:

Talk about moving on – in Mamma Mia! and Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, Donna (played by Meryl Streep) has established a life free from romantic complications and devoted to her daughter. Set on a Greek island, the movie rocks to its ABBA soundtrack.

In La La Land, careers and dreams tear two lovers apart, with a great jazz piano soundtrack in the background. Two broken-hearted women decide to swap their homes for the Christmas holidays, exchanging an English cottage in the country for a Hollywood mansion in The Holiday. The Broken Hearts Gallery takes a very clever but also profanity laden look at the challenges of getting over a break up.