Director: Ben Palmer (The Inbetweeners Movie) Starring: Lake Bell, Simon Pegg, Olivia Williams, Sharon Horgan, Rory Kinnear Verdict: Can the truth hurt when the lie is so much fun?
THIS very enjoyable British rom-com racks up more than enough laughs when it truly must.
The comically contradictory heroine is Nancy (Lake Bell), a self-professed loser in love who can’t quite believe she has finally met her winning match.
Of course, being a rom-com, there just has to be a catch. Nancy has secured her perfect night out with Mr Right in a worryingly wrong way.
Jack (Simon Pegg) thinks he is out on a blind date with someone called Jessica. She’s supposed to be 24, an aspiring entrepreneur and proven triathlete.
Nancy is 10 years older, a wash-up at work, and something of a slob. However, she and Jack are getting along like a house on fire within minutes of their mistaken-identity meeting.
Should Nancy tell the truth, or go with the flow? Well, as it turns out, the quasi-couple’s hopes of a happening relationship won’t totally rest on whatever choice Nancy makes.
Jack has a few secret blemishes of his own on his seemingly perfect track record. Perhaps the most pressing of these is the fact he only divorced his wife (Olivia Williams) a few hours ago. And she will be walking into the bar where he and Nancy are having a drink any minute now.
The compressed time frame in which Man Up takes place – the entire movie covers just a straight 24-hour period in Nancy’s cynically single life – gives the movie a spark that carries it a long way.
The many jokes that draw the louder laughs throughout a witty and fast-paced script are consistently told from a woman’s perspective. In this regard, Bell’s irresistible anchoring performance is more of a triumph than it first appears to be. And it’s downright refreshing as well.
As for Pegg – who has been out of form for quite some time now – he flourishes by virtue of his endearing chemistry with his American leading lady (whose British accent is flawless).
Best of all, the movie doesn’t feel the need to curl up into a fluffy ball, and suddenly make cute like a Hollywood-made chick flick to at least win over the ladies in the audience.