Thursday, May 28, 2015



From IMDB:


A 34 year old single woman, Nancy, hung-over again, exhausted by the endless fruitless set ups by her friends, traveling across London to toast another 10 years of her parent's successful happy magical marriage runs in with a 40 year old divorcee, Jack, who mistakes her for his 24 year old blind date. Nancy, deciding to go with it, happens to hop on the most chaotic yet hilarious journey of her life which neither of them will ever forget. There is drinking, truths, an old stalker class mate with long a standing crush, lost divorce papers, lost hopes, competitive indoor sports and yeah Jack finding out the truth that Nancy isn't his blind date. 'Man Up' a romantic comedy about taking chances, finding about being yourself, making decisions and rolling with the consequences. Written by Samuel Prongs

Ratings: 7.1/10 from 97 users Metascore: 68/100 


Nancy, is done with dating. 10 times bitten, 100 times shy, she's exhausted by the circus. So when Jack blindly mistakes her for his date, no one is more surprised than her when she does the unthinkable and just --- goes with it. It's going to take a night of pretending to be someone else for Nancy to finally man up and be her painfully honest, awesomely unconventional self... but will Jack also man up, and be able to get over her duplicity? Best just to let the evening unfold, roll with the consequences, and see if one crazy, unpredictable, complicated night can bring these two messy souls together.

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Comedy, Romance 
Directed By: Ben Palmer
Written By: Tess Morris
Runtime: 1 hr. 27 min.

Average Rating: 7.2/10 | Reviews Counted: 9
Fresh: 7 | Rotten: 2

WANT TO SEE 92% want to see
Average Rating: 4.1/5 | User Ratings: 506

You know you're life isn't going as you thought it would when you're being set-up on a blind date at an engagement party. ©Saban Films

Simon Pegg takes on a role usually not made for Simon Pegg. Also it's not about Simon Pegg. 

When you think about Romantic Comedies you usually think of two things, the lead actress being someone who's the flavor of the month and usually someone young, attractive, funny and a little quirky in that girl next door sort of way and usually on the blonde side of the hair spectrum for whatever reason, and in the case of the leading man it's usually an actor that the female audience finds to be very attractive, you know the type. Simon Pegg is not usually among that list of male actors. At least not that I am aware of. Then again neither is Lake Bell when it comes to the criteria for lead female actresses. Probably. 

So it comes as an interesting surprise to see both Simon Pegg and Lake Bell play leads in a Romantic Comedy. Although if you've actually seen the trailers this time it isn't like your usual Romantic Comedy. Maybe. Girl meets boy, yes and there are complications and then a sudden realization of being in love and finally a public declaration of it but the circumstances are a little different. This time it's from the girls point of view or more specifically, the stuff that usually happens to the guy happens to the girl. 

So you're not supposed to be on a blind date but the guy talks so fast and so much that you can't get a word in edgewise and he comes in for a hello smooch. What do you do? ©Saban Films

So basically from the two synopsis up there and the trailer you know that the movie is about Nancy played by Lake Bell. She's at that age and point in life where either you're desperate to find somebody to settle down with or you've basically resigned yourself to living life alone. Guess which side she's on? Anyway, (AND HERE COME THE SPOILERS. SO YOU'VE BEEN WARNED) the movie opens with Nancy preparing to head down to an engagement party and to be set-up with a man by the the couple getting engaged. She's at mirror putting on her make-up and going through her possible opening lines and generally psyching herself up. Then she decides not to go down there and face the crowd and instead stay in her hotel room, order some food and watch a movie. When her food is delivered, her sister calls and she tells Nancy to get her ass down to that party and take a risk. She also enlists the help of the waiter to help Nancy get ready. The waiter by the way I could swear was played by John Bradley-West who plays Samwell Tarly in the Game of Thrones series. An interesting cameo for sure. Anyway, she does head down and being a little cynical about set-ups and generally a little awkward and a little unfiltered between head and mouth, she makes a right hash of things and things turn awkward fast. So that ends that little set-up.

The next day and she's heading into the city to attend her parents 40th anniversary. She's on the train and telling her sister about the dreadful evening she's  had and just being all negative about things in general when the passenger in front of her interrupts her. The passenger in front of her is one of those young and eternally hopeful and optimistic types who also reads self-help books. The type our Nancy generally would rather avoid like the plague. The young optimist shares her thoughts and nuggets of life and relationship advice that she's read in the book in front of her and tells Nancy that she should read the book too. Nancy tells her to summarily shut up. 

I had no idea that Triathletes eat potato chips to 'carb up'. I must be a triathlete then... ©Saban Films

So the train finally reaches its destination and Nancy wakes up from a sound and drooling nap to find positivity poster girl gone but her self-help book still there but now with a napkin with a little smiley face in it as a bookmark which opens to a chapter whose title basically says her negativity is ruining her life and everyone else around her. So Nancy picks up the book and tries to chase after her to return it to her. She's not that bad a person. But of course she doesn't catch up to her and ends up holding on to the book right where miss positivity was supposed to stand waiting for her blind date. 

And as you know instead of being honest when the blind date shows up and tell him she's not the one he's supposed to meet, she goes on the date instead. The reason for her taking up the deception? He's as big a movie buff as she is. So off they go and have an amazing blind date. But things begin to unravel when at a bowling alley she meets with someone from her past who threatens to ruin things for her if she doesn't give him a kiss. He doesn't ask for the kiss first, she bargains it down to a kiss. You should really see what he wants from her first. It's incredibly inappropriate to ask someone you haven't met in like 30 years. In fact, it's incredibly inappropriate to ask anyone unless you happen to live in porno movie. 

Bowling. A date night that requires you to sweat in regular clothes while wearing smelly shoes that hundreds of other smelly men have worn and woe be to you if you don't have your own socks. ©Saban Films

Anyway, the bowling alley ex-schoolmate perv agrees but then when Nancy heads to the washroom who else does she find in there other than Mr, Perv who is stripped down to his briefs and asking for his kiss right then and there unless she wants her her secret revealed. Nancy of course gives in. The exchange takes a little too long so Jack checks up on her to find them in an awkward scene. Jack wants nothing to do with what he sees and basically wants out. Nancy stops him and tells him everything which infuriates Jack. So they argue. On the way out and at the coat check Jack discovers that he left his satchel back at the pub they started their evening in and since they're arguing they also get into an argument about how far it is and how long it'll take to get there. Nancy says it'll take ten minutes walking while Jack calls bullshit on her claims. So they have a race, Nancy walks and Jack takes a cab. They reach the pub at about the same time and while in the pub and waiting for the bartender to return with news of Jack's satchel Nancy finds out that Jack purposely chose that pub in order to bump into his ex-wife so that she can see him with his new 24 year old girlfriend. But when Jacks ex-wife does show up they come to a truce and Nancy agrees to help him out. Why? Go watch the movie. 

Well, now they're at a table together with Jack's ex-wife and her new husband who is also the man that she cheated on Jack with. And Jack is trying to make his ex-wife jealous of him by being all lovey-dovey with Nancy but Nancy does a better job at it when she asks them what their sex life is like then begins to tell them that Jack and her sex life is at that porn star level and may just stay there for a while. She also tells them about her theory of how men get women to do a certain thing by telling them that they don't want it which turns out to be exactly how Jack's ex-wife was convinced of doing that certain thing. 

So this is when Jack changes his mind a bit about Nancy. Can you tell why? ©Saban Films

When the couples part ways at the end of the evening Jack's ex and her new husband aren't on good terms and Nancy accidentally sets him on fire and dousing both him and Jack's ex wife the fire extinguisher. 

So Jack and Nancy call it a night and back at the station they get to talking about where they go from there. Their chat also goes back to the blind date and the 24 year old that Jack was supposed to meet. This is where we get the scene that is a must in every RomCom, the scene where ego and pride take control instead of the heart and the wrong thing is said. So Jack goes off to meet with said positivity poster girl and Nancy heads off to her parents 40th anniversary. 

And this is when Jack is sitting across his ex-wife. Can you tell what he's feeling? ©Saban Films

At his blind date with Ms Triathlon Jack discovers that they have nothing in common. Well, how often do you meet a 40 year old who has a lot in common with a 24 year old? You're either talking about a very childish old person or a very old fashioned young person. So Jack tells her about what's happened and being the optimist that she is he encourages him to go after Nancy. Also she's very happy that she was right about the book and tells Jack to remind Nancy of it. Nancy meanwhile reaches the party with bags of chocolate mousse and begins to tear up and mumble incoherently about her evening and Jack. 

Jack meanwhile goes back to the bowling alley since Mr. Perv is the only person he knows who knows Nancy and just might know where Nancy lives. He does but of course he doesn't take Jack there. He drops Jack off at a different address where Jack knocks on the door of a teen party going full swing. Luckily for Jack someone at the party had Nancy as a babysitter sometime ago and agrees to show Jack where she lives. So off they go and by they I mean Jack and the entire teen party. 

Long story short, Jack finds Nancy. Jack pours his heart out. The two sneak away while a lot of old people are partying inside while teenagers are partying outside to make out in her room. 

The end. 

So Nancy's making up stories about their sexscapades. And well,,, look at him! ©Saban Films

So if you read all that you probably get a sense that this isn't your typical RomCom... Sorta...

Well, it isn't right? Maybe I haven't been watching a lot of them lately. Anyway, it was a very entertaining movie and Lake Bell and Simon Pegg were just brilliant. They were also, I felt, very much themselves. It also felt like a very Simon Pegg movie. It felt like the role that Simon played was literally written for him. But what was really impressed was Lake Bell. She was just perfect I think. For a role that's usually reserved for the attractive flavor of the month I don't think this movie would have been better if they had cast anyone other than Lake Bell. Her cynicism, her awkwardness, her sense of comedic timing fit the role perfectly. It's sort of like Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally, if anyone else was cast for her role I don't think that movie will be as iconic of the genre as it is now. And that scene in the diner probably wouldn't have the same impact or effect. And also, she plays a pretty convincing Brit.  

What happens here is a pretty cool dance scene set to Duran Duran's The Reflex. It's pretty epic actually and hilarious. ©Saban Films

All in all, Man Up was a very different take on the genre for me and a very entertaining one. It's a very British humor but the one that fans of Simon Pegg films and the ilk will know and relate to. It's also very honest sort of humor. You won't get that dreamy type of love story here. It's more like stand-up comedy than it is a sitcom situated in a perfect neighborhood. It's also quite blue. If you're looking for a fun movie for that date night with your significant other or for that first date, give it a go. If you're a fan of British comedy or Simon Pegg why not give it a try. If you're a fan of the Romantic Comedy genre, give it a chance. It isn't your usual run of the mill but it's still entertaining and fun. 

To sum it up I give this movie an above average rating. So somewhere in the region of 3.3 out of 5. Have a look at the trailer and see for yourself if it's worth it. 




  1. An American who can do an English accent? It's a miracle!

  2. Hey again Thomas! Yup I was very much surprised at how good and convincing she was as a Brit!