A 34 year old single woman, Nancy, hung-over again, exhausted by the endless fruitless set ups by her friends, traveling up to 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 a long 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.Written by
I'm not a fan of romantic comedies, but I can't deny the fact that I have enjoyed various films which (in my humble opinion) transcended that label in order to become good movies on their own merit. Among the romantic comedies I liked very much, I can mention Love Actually, Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, Bridget Jones' Diary and About Time. And even though I wouldn't place Man Up at the same level of those films, it kept me very entertained due to its solid combination of humor and romance, besides of the perfect chemistry between Lake Bell and Simon Pegg, who really make us wish their characters to remain together, not because the formula says so, but because the incipient relationship between them feels organic and authentic. And Man Up also achieves what many romantic comedies don't even attempt: being genuinely funny. A plot synopsis of this film might not inspire too much confidence: another "odd couple" joined by a lie which will eventually be revealed and will separate them... unless love triumphs. That doesn't sound like a movie I would be interested in watching. However, screenwriter Tess Morris knows the clichés and how to avoid, improve or using them in her favor, and as a consequence, the structure of Man Up feels comfortable and familiar, while not employing cheap emotional tricks or forced subversions of shape. In other words, this isn't a romantic comedy which denies its origins; it just makes a better use of the tools in hand. Pegg is mostly known for his work in the "geek" genre, with the films Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz and the TV series Spaced; however, he had already worked in some romantic comedies, which had been mediocre (Run Fatboy Run, How to Lose Friends & Alienate People). Fortunately, he had better luck in Man Up, while bringing a solid performance as the classic "normal man trapped into extraordinary circumstances". As for Bell, she plays her character without the irritating affectations or false geniality from Katherine Heigl or Jessica Biel. By the way, Bell deserves applause for the perfect British accent she adopted in Man Up; it may not reach the heights of Reneé Zellweger in Bridget Jones' Diary, but it immediately erased my fears for a North American actress playing a role obviously written for an English native. And it's not just the "accent" in the traditional sense, but also the minuscule inflections she adopted. On the negative side of Man Up, the supporting characters feel kinda superficial. The parents and sister of Bell's character feel a bit exaggerated, maybe to dissimulate their obvious function as supports of the narrative structure. And something even more notorious is the character of the jealous "ex", who certainly has funny scenes, but ends up being a caricature which negatively contrasts with the realism of the main characters. Nevertheless, it might not be a great movie, but I enjoyed Man Up pretty much, and I can recommend it to fans of romantic comedies, and also to the detractors of the genre (such as me), because it proves the possibility of creating a story inside the established parameters, but with enough narrative ability to overcome the expectations generally inspired by the films of this kind.
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