Here’s a delightful movie that you haven’t seen – the grievously overlooked romantic comedy Man Up. The British Man Up had a very brief US theatrical run last November that did not even reach the Bay Area. I suspect that’s because it doesn’t have any big name American stars. But it’s better than any other romantic comedy from 2015.
Nancy (Lake Bell) is on a four-year dating drought and has given up all hope when she inadvertently stumbles into a blind date meant for another woman. She’s intrigued with what she sees in Jack (Simon Pegg from Shaun of the Dead) and decides to impersonate his real date. As they get more and more into each other, the elephant in the room is when she will be exposed.
Like many of the best recent romantic comedies, Man Up was written by a woman, the British television writer Tess Morris. Again and again in Man Up, Morris authentically captures dating behaviors and female and male insecurities. Nervous at meeting Nancy, Jack just can’t stop talking; in a later date with someone who he’s not so much into, he checks off the same conversation points in a fraction of the time. Everyone who has dated will recognize himself or herself at some moment in this film.
The very talented Lake Bell wrote/directed/starred in the American indie comedy In the World…, which I really, really liked. Simon Pegg is a comedy star, and he’s very appealing here, but Bell has seriously good comedic chops.
Rory Kinnear, who you might remember as persistent but sensitive detective in The Imitation Game and as Tanner in the James Bond movies, plays an outrageously inappropriate admirer from Nancy’s youth.
Man Up is available to stream from Netflix Instant, Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube, Google Play and Flixster.