Man Up (2015)

Man Up (2015)
  • Time: 88 min
  • Genre: Comedy | Romance
  • Director: Ben Palmer
  • Cast: Lake Bell, Simon Pegg, Rory Kinnear, Ophelia Lovibond


A 34 year old single woman, Nancy, hung-over again, exhausted by the endless fruitless set ups by her friends, traveling across London to toast another 10 years of her parent’s successful happy magical marriage runs in with a 40 year old divorcee, Jack, who mistakes her for his 24 year old blind date. Nancy, deciding to go with it, happens to hop on the most chaotic yet hilarious journey of her life which neither of them will ever forget. There is drinking, truths, an old stalker class mate with long a standing crush, lost divorce papers, lost hopes, competitive indoor sports and yeah Jack finding out the truth that Nancy isn’t his blind date. ‘Man Up’ a romantic comedy about taking chances, finding about being yourself, making decisions and rolling with the consequences.

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  • Halfway through Man Up, Nancy (Lake Bell) and Jack (Simon Pegg) are on the dance floor lamenting their respective romantic travails when they suddenly launch into a spontaneously choreographed dance to Duran Duran’s “The Reflex.” Such is the joy that pervades the unfortunately titled but fortunately entertaining British romantic comedy Man Up.

    Written by Tess Morris, whose previous work The Love Punch was an equally breezy romp, the film maintains a sunny tone, always bestowing happiness even as its content tends to the alarmingly sociopathic. Nancy is a 34-year-old singleton first seen revving up her confidence with mantras like “Put yourself out there” and “Engage with life” before embarking on a disastrous blind date notable for the alacrity in which they descend from stilted conversation to awkward silence. The next day, on a train to London to attend her parents’ 40th anniversary party, Nancy announces to her sister Elaine (Sharon Horgan) that “I’m just going to let my vagina hermetically dry up.”

    Overhearing Nancy’s phone conversation is Jessica (Ophelia Lovibond), a perky and ponytailed 24-year-old who urges her to read a best-selling self-help book that will change her life. Jessica proclaims the book is about to change hers – she’s on her way to meet her blind date and the book is how they will recognise one another. When Jessica leaves her copy for Nancy on the train and Nancy races after her through Waterloo Station to return it, Nancy is mistaken for Jessica after Jack spots the book in her hand. Stunned into silence, Nancy decides to play along, especially after he quotes a line from her favourite film The Silence of the Lambs.

    What ensues is a series of frequently farcical and laugh out loud moments as Nancy keeping up the pretense of being a young career woman fresh off a breakup who also loves competing in triathlons. Bell and Pegg’s instantaneous and fizzy chemistry cement viewer support as their characters navigate the various shifts in their relationship. Nancy and Jack must also contend with the appearances of Sean (Rory Kinnear), a former high-school classmate of Nancy’s whose unabashed crush on her is beyond stalkerish (he knows the Google coordinates of her parents’ house), and Jack’s frosty soon-to-be ex-wife (Olivia Williams), who arrives with her lover (Stephen Campbell Moore) in tow.

    There isn’t anything in Man Up that hasn’t already been seen and done in any rom-com from the past 20 years, but the playfulness with which Man Up embraces the conventions of the genre is to be enthusiastically applauded. The film knows exactly what it is and it is this celebratory and frequently winking take that makes Man Up a consistently engaging watch.

    Adding to the fun is the excellent supporting cast led by Kinnear and Lovibond. Kinnear is an absolute scene stealer as a man whose obsession knows no bounds. Lovibond shines as the perpetually chipper romantic. Pegg has his most charming and winning role outside of the Mission: Impossible and Star Trek franchises. The underrated Bell gets a strong showcase for her comic skills, lobbing the script’s numerous one-liners with screwball flair.

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