This latest edition of SouthCoast things to celebrate shines a light on a new Amazon Prime romantic comedy featuring some popular leads with local ties.
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, “I Want You Back” dropped on Friday, starring Jenny Slate and Charlie Day as heartbro30-something strangers who bond over being dumped by their partners and hatch a plot to win their exes back.
Rom-com hijinks naturally ensues.
The lighthearted flick is driven by a funny pair who at one point or another have called this corner of southern New England home.
If you’re lucky, who just may bump into Slate, a stand-up comedian, author, and actress who’s known for — among many roles — the sassy and quotable Mona-Lisa Saperstein on NBC’s “Parks and Recreation,” if you’ re in the Westport area.
The Milton native is married to Westport’s Ben Shattuck, the curator at the Dedee Shattuck Gallery, whose mother, Dedee Shattuck, is owner and founder of the world-class gallery at 1 Partners Lane.
Notable nuptials:Actress Jenny Slate engaged to Dedee Shattuck Gallery curator Ben Shattuck
Shattuck is a painter and writer whose work has appeared in The New Republic, The Paris Review Daily, Salon.com and others according to his bio on the gallery’s webpage.
He also made headlines last year when he and his brother, Will Shattuck, acquired Dartmouth’s landmark Davoll’s General Store, where the pair spent much of their childhood. While upgrades were made, including the addition of a café and pub, the Shattucks aimed to preserve the historic 228-year-old structure and community feel.
Future of Davoll’s:The Shattuck brothers rode bicycles to this Dartmouth store as kids. Now they own it.
The couple welcomed their first child, a baby girl named Ida, in February 2021, and tied the knot in a private ceremony held at their seaside Massachusetts home this past New Year’s Eve.
Surprise!:Jenny Slate reveals she and fiance Ben Shattuck welcomed baby girl, gushes about motherhood
Slate, a former cast member on “Saturday Night Live,” released a critically acclaimed Netflix standup special, “Stage Fright,” in 2019 and a book of essays, “Little Weirds,” that same year.
She even stopped into Westport’s Dedee Shattuck Gallery to read from her book — a collection of nonfiction, personal pieces — during a free Partners Village Store Writers Series event in December 2019.
She has appeared in numerous roles including the movie “Venom,” alongside Tom Hardy, “Gifted,” and “Obvious Child,” for which she earned a Critics’ Choice Award for Best Actress in a Comedy. Slate lent her voice from her to animated films such as “The Secret Life of Pets” and its sequel, “Zootopia” and “Lego Batman Movie.”
In addition to “Parks and Recreation,” she’s known for television roles in “Big Mouth” and “Kroll Show.” As an author, Slate co-created New York Times best-selling children’s book series, “Marcel the Shell with Shoes On” as well as the popular short film series.
‘Little Weirds’:Partners Village Store Writers Series features Jenny Slate
In “I Want You Back,” streaming now on Amazon, Slate stars alongside another actor with local roots. Charlie Day, most known for his role as him on the FX sitcom “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” grew up on Aquidneck Island, in Middletown, RI
Day co-created the Apple TV+ comedy series “Mythic Quest,” and has appeared in films such as “Horrible Bosses,” “Monsters University,” “Pacific Rim,” “The Lego Movie,” and its sequel, “Fist Fight” and “Pacific Rim: Uprising.”
Directed by Jason Orley, “I Want You Back” also features Gina Rodriguez, Scott Eastwood and Manny Jacinto.
Two Jens for Valentine’s Day:Jenny Slate leads ‘I Want You Back’; J-Lo tops ‘Marry Me’
Reviews for the film have been mixed. Roger Ebert gave it 1 1/2 stars. On Rotten Tomatoes, it registered 89% fresh on the Tomatometer, a score that represents the percentage of professional critic reviews that are positive for a given film or television show.
According to the site, the general consensus among critics was: “With a stellar cast playing well-rounded characters, I Want You Back is the rare rom-com that delivers its romance as capably as its comedy.”