I heard Tess Morris on Doug Loves Movies and was immediately sold on her romantic comedy, Man Up. Simon Pegg is one of my favorite actors and his on screen presence in most films manages to add 25% more charm. Lake Bell’s only performance I’m familiar with is “What Happens in Vegas,” and she was quite funny in that movie. So, my wife and I were debating what film should take today’s spot and I remembered this was now on Netflix. While I hesitate to use the Must See rating on a Rom-Com, I feel that if you’re a fan of a little bit of romance and a whole lot of comedy this definitely deserves a spot on your list.
Nancy (Lake Bell) meets Jessica (Ophelia Lovibond) on a train on her way home wehre Jessica suggest that Nancy read a self-help book. Jessica leaves the book for Nancy despite her objections and Nancy sets off after her. By coincidence, Nancy takes the place of a Jessica who is supposed to be Jack’s (Simon Pegg) blind date.
Lake Bell and Simon Pegg are both phenomenal in this movie. Bell’s accent is fantastic and made me question whether or not she was actually British. Pegg’s witty, spastic, charm shine in this awkward, getting-to-know-you phase of the blind date. Their characters work well together and the twists and turns of the plot are fun and not as predictable as you may expect. Not that everything is a surprise, but still there is a breath of fresh-air in the performances in the film. The supporting cast does a great job of adding to the comedy especially Rory Kinnear as Sean, a former love interest of Nancy’s.
My favorite scene is the conversation with Nancy and Jack sitting with Jack’s ex-wife Hilary (Olivia Williams) and her new boyfriend. It’s a great moment where you see Nancy’s confidence kick in and Jack’s awe of the person sitting next to him is clearly seen in his eyes. He’s asking himself, “who is this women,” and at the same time a glint of admiration is noticed. Add that the conversation is comical and Hilary’s stoic expression is juxtaposed with her boyfriends over excitement in the topic at hand. It’s just a great romantic comedy type of scene.
Tess Morris did an excellent job of building characters that felt real and interesting. There was no challenge getting me to root for the two, would-be lovebirds. I liked both of them and wanted them to end up together. If you’re a fan of romantic comedies than definitely add this to the list, and if you’re not, but you like good movies with interesting characters that are well acted this one works also.