Director: Ben Palmer
Cast: Simon Pegg, Lake Bell, Sharon Horgan and Rory Kinnear
Running Time: 88 minutes
Release Date: may 29th
We all know and love Simon Pegg from his Three Colours Cornetto series. Lake Bell was fantastic in the indie hit In a World…, while Sharon Horgan blew us all away in Channel 4 series Catastrophe. This impressive cast is watched over by director Ben Palmer, previously of The Inbetweeners Movie. Basically, Man Up is a reminder of all these other, better projects you’d be better off watching instead.
Bell plays a cynical, 30-something who has basically given up on the idea of ever falling in love, until she bumps into Pegg in a train station. He believes she is the blind date that he’s been set up with, while she actually has found someone she kinda likes and doesn’t correct him. Over the course of the day they go drinking, play bowling, run into exes, slowly start to fall in love… but that cloud of who she really is, plus her parent’s 40th wedding anniversary party that has been organised by her sister (Horgan), is hanging over them throughout.
The genre of rom-coms need a certain magical level of disbelief for them to work in the first place, as only so many relationships can endure serendipitous meet-cutes and airport chases with public declarations of love. Man Up bursts through that glass ceiling of belief though, reaching almost sci-fi levels of coincidence and happenstance occurrences, forcing the audience to make an appointment with their ophthalmologist immediately after the movie ends, such is the level of eye-rolling they’ll be performing.
Scenes are set-up like the laziest of sit-coms – a mad dash through London to find a missing bag is a particular low-light – and due to this, you’ll find that the laughs come thin and slow. If it weren’t for Pegg’s easy charm, Bell’s impressive comic timing and Horgan’s innate likeability, Man Up would be borderline unwatchable. This is candyfloss cinema; yes, it looks fluffy and fun, but 90 minutes later and you’ll feel like getting sick.