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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Saturday, July 09, 2016

Movie Review - Man Up

Man Up (2015)
Starring Simon Pegg, Lake Bell, Sharon Horgan, Ophelia Lovibond, Rory Kinnear, and Olivia Williams
Directed by Ben Palmer
***This film is currently streaming on Netflix***

Man Up is an average romantic comedy elevated only by the oddball chemistry and talents of Simon Pegg and Lake Bell who make this silly flick better than it really has any right to be.  Bell is Nancy, a thirty-four year-old single woman who has all but abandoned dating due to her admitted awkwardness.  While on a train out of the city to celebrate her parents' fortieth wedding anniversary, Nancy meets Jessica (Ophelia Lovibond), a young twenty-four year-old whose obsession with a very popular self-help book has led her to embark on a blind date.  Nancy falls asleep on the train after berating the young woman for her bubbly personality and when she awakens she discovers that Jessica has left her book behind.  Rushing to catch up with her, Nancy is mistaken by Jack (Pegg) to be Jessica as he was looking for a woman holding the aforementioned self-help book.  Nancy is immediately taken in by Jack's equally awkward, though charmingly witty, demeanor and Nancy decides to pretend to be Jessica, taking an uncharacteristic plunge and going on a blind date.  Not expecting much, Nancy begins to fall for Jack and he for her -- of course, considering the case of mistaken identity, humor should be abundant!

While all-out hilarity may not ensue, there were a several chuckles and maybe even a few flat-out guffaws throughout Man Up mostly thanks to Simon Pegg's deliveries and Lake Bell's reactions to them.  The two pair off of each other nicely and make this otherwise formulaic and typical rom-com fare a little better than average.  Unfortunately, rather than try and build a story that focuses squarely on these two individuals, the film's debut screenwriter peppers in one-note unfunny characters that do little to advance the plot, but take up much too much of the film's running time.  Even with a speedy 90-minute running time, these superfluous "extras" unnecessarily pad and bring down the movie.  There's better out there than Man Up, but it proves that Lake Bell is an underused commodity in Hollywood and Simon Pegg is a clever and witty cinematic comedian.

The RyMickey Rating:  C+

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