Love is blind­ness for Pegg

Ro­man­tic com­edy is full of qual­ity and belly laughs

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - ON STAGE -

THE ro­man­tic com­edy goes back to ba­sics in Man Up, a sweet, funny and charm­ing tale of boymeets-wrong-girl-but­doesn’t-re­alise-it, filmed on lo­ca­tion in Lon­don.

Di­rected at a brisk pace by Ben Palmer, who helmed The In­be­tween­ers Movie, this con­trived tale of mis­taken iden­tity strips away most of the gross-out in­ter­ludes that have be­come de rigueur for the genre.

New York City-born writer and actress Lake Bell sports a flaw­less English ac­cent as the hap­less hero­ine who bum­bles and dithers in a Brid­get Jones style, mi­nus the in­ces­sant self-doubt and crit­i­cism.

She sparks a lively on-screen part­ner­ship with Simon Pegg, so we root for their un­likely love­birds to over­come the var­i­ous ob­sta­cles that screen­writer Tess Mor­ris flings in their path.

Th­ese in­clude Rory Kin­n­ear as a lech­er­ous old school mate, who threat­ens to tell tales out of class about Bell’s pro­tag­o­nist un­less she pro­vides him with im­promptu sex­ual favours.

It’s the clos­est Mor­ris comes to ped­dling gra­tu­itous muck­i­ness.

The film opens with thir­tysome­thing sin­gle­ton Nancy (Bell) try­ing to con­vince her­self to ‘be more de­viant... en­gage with life’.

She re­treats from a party full of po­ten­tial suit­ors to spend the evening alone in a ho­tel room.

“Put your­self out there,” sug­gests her hap­pily part­nered sis­ter, Elaine (Sharon Hor­gan). “Cook more, un­der­stand the Is­raeli-Pales­tine con­flict...”

On a train to Lon­don, Nancy meets a girl called Jes­sica (Ophe­lia Lovi­bond), who is meet­ing a blind date un­der the sta­tion clock at Water­loo sta­tion.

Jes­sica will recog­nise her beau be­cause they will both be hold­ing copies of the best­selling self-help book Six Bil­lion Peo­ple And You, which is full of inspiring apho­risms in­clud­ing ‘Your neg­a­tive thoughts are ru­in­ing your life and ev­ery­one else’.

When the train pulls into the sta­tion, Nancy dis­cov­ers Jes­sica has left her copy be­hind and races af­ter her, only to cross paths with the blind date, Jack (Simon Pegg), un­der the clock. On the spur of the mo­ment, Nancy de­cides to pose as Jes­sica and see where the meet­ing leads.

Sur­pris­ingly, she gets on well with Jack but there are skele­tons in both of their clos­ets they would pre­fer to keep hid­den, in­clud­ing his icy ex-wife (Olivia Wil­liams) and her new part­ner (Stephen Camp­bel­lMoore).

Man Up is an un­ap­peal­ing ti­tle for a feel-good romp that re­lies heav­ily on the leads to carry the film through its oc­ca­sional lulls.

Screen­writer Mor­ris doesn’t over­com­pli­cate her nar­ra­tive, jux­ta­pos­ing Nancy and Jack’s event­ful first date with prepa­ra­tions for the 40th an­niver­sary party of her par­ents (Ken Stott, Har­riet Wal­ter), who know all about the ups and downs of mar­ried life.

Kin­n­ear sinks his pearly whites into his in­ten­tion­ally gar­ish sup­port­ing role with un­re­strained vim.

Dia­logue is pep­pered with pol­ished one-lin­ers and Palmer sus­tains mo­men­tum un­til a suit­ably grand fi­nale that proves you can’t hurry love, even with GPS track­ing.

Simon Pegg and Lake Bell get to­gether in Man Up

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.