Man Up (2014) - Review

by - January 02, 2019

Synopsis: Nancy is traveling across London to toast another ten years of her parents' magical marriage. She runs into Jack who mistakes her for his blind date. Nancy decides to go with it and starts the most chaotic journey of her life.

Right Time, Right Place, Wrong Date.

The Brits really know how to make romantic comedies. Nancy (Lake Bell) is traveling to her parents 40th wedding anniversary party where she's set to make a speech (which she has been struggling with). Along the way she meets a woman, Jessica (Ophelia Lovibond), who feels Nancy could use some changes in her life and leaves her a self-help book called 'Six Billion People and You' while Nancy is sleeping.

Nancy wakes up to find the book with a chapter marked titled 'Your Negative Thoughts are Ruining Your Life (And Everyone Else's...)' and annoyed, she sets off the train after Jessica to confront her. Losing her in the crowd, Nancy is then approached by Jack (Simon Pegg), who is carrying the same book and under the impression that Nancy is Jessica, his blind date. Rather than correct him, Nancy opts to let him believe the lie as she seems charmed by him and his quoting of Silence of the Lambs, one of her favorite movies.

The two embark on a rather eventful night that continues on even after a creepy ex-classmate of Nancy's exposes the mistaken identity. I feel like this is where the movie really took off, with both Nancy and Jack calling each other out on their respective bullshit (Nancy is a cynic when it comes to romance, Jack is a soon-to-be-divorced man who thinks dating a 24-year-old will somehow validate him after his wife's affair...) while being seemingly unable, or unwilling, to part ways.

Lake Bell is a relatable heroine (um, flossing with her hair? genius!), who struggles to put herself out there and has to create a list of the things she wants to accomplish in her life (stronger thighs, for example), and Simon Pegg is once again witty and charming (can he please have more leading man roles?!) while still being sympathetic. They have chemistry, which makes this movie work, despite some of the silliness. The movie is so fun and endearing that it's easy to forgive the rom-com clichéd ending (hint; there's a lot of running...).

I docked it half a star for letting creeper Sean (Rory Kinnear) and his disturbingly stalkerish behavior get off scot-free.

Starring: Simon Pegg, Lake Bell, Ophelia Lovibond, Olivia Williams
Directed by: Ben Palmer
Rated: NR
Watched: 09.24.2018
Fun Facts:
- Lake Bell spoke with her British accent even when she wasn't filming. The crew had no idea she was American until the end of filming when she thanked them all.
- Simon and Lake spent about a week perfecting their dance scenes at Rosita's.
- The story was based on screenwriter Tess Morris's real-life encounter at London Waterloo Station, where a man approached her and asked if she was his blind date. She wondered what would have happened if she had said yes.
Notable Song: Here I Go Again by Whitesnake

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