Leave it to Lake Bell and Simon Pegg to make a marvelous romantic comedy.
The former, known for being emotionally challenged in films like In A World…, matches perfectly with Pegg, who has made being a geek the coolest thing ever. And it doesn’t seem like it would work since you don’t think of them together. Plus, Bell isn’t actually English, which does matter.
Here’s the concept. Nancy meets a girl who is supposed to meet a guy (Pegg). Only, Nancy gets mistaken for the girl, and she goes along with it. She’s had a rubbish love life recently, but then she meets the guy, and they really hit it off.
When is she planning to tell the truth, and how is he going to react? The answer to one may surprise you.
The guy, Jack, finds out much earlier than you’d think, and he does stop talking to Nancy for a little bit. I won’t reveal much else, but it is a romantic comedy, after all—you know it’ll end a certain way. The thing is, all the standard bits don’t feel so hackneyed. There is a tender heart behind all of this, and pretty much everything sticks. Sometimes, those who have been hurt the most have the most room in their hearts for love.
Side note: Rory Kinnear has an odd little guest role in this, and if you’ve seen his other work—The Creature in Penny Dreadful and a magnificent theatrical turn as Iago—you’ll appreciate it. The guy has serious range, but if you don’t recognize him, you might be put off.
For me, this movie seemed almost too good to be true. Lake Bell and Simon Pegg in a British romantic comedy? Piss off. But Man Up takes a great concept and somehow does it justice. If you think that love may never come your way—if that sort of thing matters to you, like it does to me—this movie will give you hope. And sometimes, a little hope does go a long way.
Man Up is available on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital.