Man Up


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Man Up
"Excruciating first date dialogue"

Simon Pegg is not rom-com material. He can do the com, but finds the rom a bit cheesy.

Boy meets girl (chitty chat, smiley faces); they fall out (tears in the toilet, frowny faces); they make up (heart to heart, serious faces); they say goodbye (oops, surprised faces); they come back together (hugs, pouty faces). And the audience go "Toot de toot!" Everyone's happy.

Copy picture

Well, not everyone.

This is Nancy's movie. She's a screw up. Beautiful in an intelligent way (looks good, talks straight), she's having a self worth crisis. You could call it a mid life confidence relapse, except she's not that old.

Anyway, here's the been-there hook. Jack (Pegg) is meeting Jessica (Ophelia Lovibond) under the clock at Victoria Station - on-line dating thing. He picks up Nancy by mistake and she goes along with it because what else is she going to do? Kill herself? She's thought about that, don't worry.

The following section is reserved for excruciating first date dialogue when both parties bat banalities over the net in the hope that the other will trip over the truth and lose the point.

Afterwards - once they expose themselves as lonely saddos - things improve, but not enough to save the film. Nancy is special, particularly because she is played by Lake Bell (writer/director/star of In A World... ) and you want to take her away from all this before she drowns in middle class convention.

Jack could have been any actor's meal ticket. The fact that it's Pegg's matters little. His comic persona has more to do with looking like a loser while beating the odds with self-deprecating humour. He's better in his own scripts. Who can forget Spaced? That was 16 years ago.

Point taken.

Reviewed on: 26 May 2015
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A blind-date mix-up could lead to love... Or not.
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Tribeca 2015

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