WRITTEN BY: Tess Morris
DIRECTED BY: Ben Palmer
STARRING: Simon Pegg, Lake Bell, Rory Kinnear, Ophelia Lovibond
RATING: 3 stars
Nancy (Lake Bell) is travelling to a party for the 40th wedding anniversary of her parents when she meets a younger woman named Jessica (Ophelia Lovibond) who is on her way to a blind date with Jack (Simon Pegg). Jessica is supposed to hold a self-help book under the train station clock so that Jack can spot her, but Nancy ends up with the book instead. When Jack mistakes Nancy for Jessica, she decides to take a chance and goes on a date with him. But keeping up the ruse is harder than Nancy thought as she starts to really like Jack.
If you prefer the British sense of humour over American comedies, then you will probably find plenty of laughs in Man Up. The film takes place over one day/night and there are a lot of clever set-ups. Pegg may not be a typically handsome leading man, but as an “every man” he is totally amiable. Bell does a great job with the English accent and her character has some poignant moments, but Nancy is also a total mess. In fact, she makes so many awful decisions that it is plainly clear why she is 34 and miserably single. Rory Kinnear also appears in a pivotal role as Sean, one of Nancy's former schoolmates, who she bumps into at a bowling alley. While Sean could have been an annoying side character, Kinnear makes him a hilarious addition to the film. Man Up is not as good as some beloved British romantic comedies like Love Actually or Notting Hill, but for people who are a little more cynical about love, there is a lot to relate to.