Man Up – ★ ★ ★ ★ DVD Review
Simon Pegg? Check. Lake Bell? Check. This should be a good one. Basically that’s how I decided to watch this one, because you know I’m not a big fan of the “rom-com” genre. I really enjoyed Lake Bell in In A World and even in Million Dollar Arm, plus I’m a big fan of Simon Pegg so there was very little risk to this pick.
34 year old Nancy (Lake Bell) is still single and geting tired of it all. Frustrated and feeling completely defeated by a string of setups and blind dates arranged by her friends, she even gets dating advice from a young woman she meets on the train who preaches the lessons of a self-help book, which at the journey’s end, she leaves for Nancy who had fallen asleep on the ride. Jack (Simon Pegg) is a 40 year old divorcee who is all set for his blind date with 24 year old Jessica (Ophelia Lovibond) who he’s set to meet under the clock in the train station, where both of them will be carrying their copy of a certain self-help book…. Nancy of course is the one carrying the book who ends up meeting Jack. She decides to “put herself out there” (as both the book and Jessica said) and she rolls with the situation, becoming “Jessica” for the night, and has a really good time.
Of course since this is all pretty much built on deception, you know the good times won’t last all date long. While out for bowling, Nancy/Jessica runs into Sean (Rory Kinnear), a former classmate who’s always had a crush on her, and who now threatens to ruin her blind date by telling Jack who she really is. Of course, Jack does find out, and reacts as you would expect, but after walking out on Nancy, he has to find her again, because she’s got the bag with his unsigned divorce papers. Teaming up to put his soon-to-be ex-wife in her place, Nancy and Jack bitterly have a few laughs before saying their goodbyes to each other. It turns out though that Jack is just as lonely as Nancy, and has been trying to dull that pain by taking lots of blind dates with lots of younger women. After some contemplation and finally meeting with the real Jessica, he realizes that he was having a really good time with Nancy, that her maturity and experiences in life were something he was really missing in his own, and that void couldn’t be filled by the flings he’d been having. But now that he’s realized he’s fallen love, how can he find Nancy again? The only one who knows where she lives is sabotaging Sean from the bowling alley!
Man Up to me was a a lot more “comedy” than “romantic” comedy. There were some extremely funny bits that I think can only be relayed through the charms of British humour. Wit, satire and emotion cap off a very good film that is about taking chances, and being yourself. Pegg and Bell had great chemistry together and that makes you actually care for their characters. Bell in particular gives a great performance; she had such a convincing English accent, and looked to have a lot of fun on the film. Fun on the set nearly always translates to excellent performances. Sure the outcomes of Man Up are a little predictable and even a little improbable, but this one had me hooked and enjoying it all the way to the end.
Bottom Line: Man Up also had a great classic rock soundtrack. The Duran Duran Reflex scene was great!