When you have a film that boasts the comedic talents of Lake Bell and Simon Pegg nothing can go wrong. In MAN UP, Lake Bell is Nancy, a woman who is a master of words but less skillful in love. When Nancy is accidentally mistaken by Jack (played by Simon Pegg) to be his blind date, she decides to be impulsive for once and just go along with it. What follows is a hilarious, rollicking romp of schemes, sparring, and slapstick humor.
Bell and Pegg prove themselves to be more than game for a film full of lightning-fast quips and repartee. And yet MAN wanes in terms of establishing a believable romance between the two leads. Perhaps that is because for the better part of the film both characters are pretending to be someone other than themselves. First there is Nancy pretending to be the girl that Jack is set up with, and later in the film, when Nancy and Jack meet Jack’s ex-wife in a bar, Nancy and Jack are also pretending to be the perfect couple to arouse his ex’s jealousy.
While this makes for great fun in the film, all the deception and assumptions of fake (or perhaps I should say “modified”) identities, it also makes their attraction to each other somewhat tenuous. It would therefore seem appropriate that the film’s happy ending does not end with overtly passionate proclamations of love, but instead with a hot and heavy bang between the two leads in the bathroom of Nancy’s parents’ house.
MAN UP is at its best when it is not being too serious. Thankfully, what it lacks in terms of romance is made up for with star power and laughs.
This film premiered at the last Tribeca Film Festival.