Film Review: Man Up (UK & France, 2015)

Can a few dating wrongs allow you to find Mr. Right? That is the question that is asked in the British rom-com, Man Up. The film is simply one zany night stretched out to feature length. It’s an evening filled with mishaps and misadventures and it’s all madcap fun that is uncomplicated, funny and silly.

The film is directed by Ben Palmer (The Inbetweeners Movie) and marks the silver-screen debut of writer, Tess Morris who has previously written episodes of My Family and Hollyoaks. American-actress, Lake Bell (In A World…) does an excellent job playing an English character who could have been drowning in self-pity. She’s Nancy, a 34-year-old single journalist who has been burned by her previous relationships and is naturally a little gun shy. She is also in possession of two parents and a sister who are obsessed with her relationship status. Like Bridget Jones, she is an older, single gal but she’s also a tad jaded, cynical and sassy.

Nancy meets Jessica (Ophelia Lovibond) a young, over-achieving do-gooder on the train. Jessica raves about a self-help book and even gives a copy of this to Nancy. And thorough a series of contrived events, Nancy ends up underneath a clock at Waterloo station when Jessica’s blind date, Jack (Simon Pegg) turns up. Jack assumes Nancy is Jessica and rather than correct the poor man, Nancy decides to go along for the ride.

The pair hit it off but remember, this is a boy meets girl, boy loses girl sort of tale. As the story progresses, the events get zanier and crazier. There’s a cameo by a weird stalker from Nancy’s childhood (played by good sport, Rory Kinnear) and things do get a little strange when Jack’s ex-wife (a stern, Olivia Williams) turns up at the bar with her new partner. This film has a big heart and there are moments where it is quite likeable, fast-paced and funny. Thankfully, these parts tend to outweigh the predictable, contrived and clichéd moments found elsewhere.

Man Up has an unfortunate title and is actually a pleasant little film told from an interesting lady’s point of view, although it does go off on more than one screwball tangent. It’s an un-challenging and pleasant watch that can be a bit cheesy at times. But mostly it is filled with good bits of sass and witty dialogue. In all, this is one enjoyable comedy and look at modern love.

Review score: THREE AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE).

Man Up is released in Australian cinemas on November 5.