Man Up is supposedly a rom-com but, it’s so formulaic and full of cliches, by the end of the 88 mins you’re left thinking Man Down, Man Down!
Man Up starts with Nancy (played by Lake Bell), thirty-something, hung over and jaded sitting opposite Jessica (played by Ophelia Lovibon). Nancy is heading home to celebrate her parents’ 40th wedding anniversary but, as you may have guessed, is single with no suitable prospect on the horizons. Jessica, however, is full of life and joie de vivre reading a self help book which she says has brought so many good things into her life including the blind date she is on her way to meet. She shows Nancy the book who skims through it and then the inevitable happens, Jessica forgets the book on the train and Nancy runs after her. Then, the first happy accident happens when she is mistaken by Jack (played by Simon Pegg) who thinks she is his blind date as she is holding the book. In short, the premise of the film is right time, right place but the wrong date. The rest of the film is given over to Nancy trying to find the right time to tell Jack that she is not “the right date”. However, the only problem is that she actually starts to enjoy his company so even though she is the wrong date, will she turn out to be the right woman for him.
This film is directed by Ben Palmer and written by Tess Morris. The premise of the film is interesting and different and would have been enjoyable had the script not been riddled by so many clichés. It just tried too hard. The character of Sean (played by Rory Kinnear) would have been better suited to The Inbetweeners, also directed by Ben Palmer, but felt out of place here.
Whilst Lake Bell and Simon Pegg acted well, the script was formulaic and superficial. It felt as it was trying to be a little like Bridesmaids but it lacked the depth of that film. Lake Bell does an incredible English accent and she showed her propensity for accents in the film she wrote and directed: In a World. Simon Pegg showed that he is leading man material but they were wasted in this film. The supporting cast of leading British talent including: Olivia Williams and Ken Stott were also wasted, and left me asking: Richard Curtis where are you when we need you. I miss the romantic comedies of the 1990s and this was neither romantic nor particularly funny.
Save your popcorn money and rent it when it comes on DVD if you are a die hard Simon Pegg fan.
Man Up opened in cinemas nationwide on 29 May.
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