Film review rating: *****
BBC Films (88mins)
Starring: Simon Pegg, Lake Bell, Rory Kinnear, Olivia Williams, Sharon Horgan, Harriet Walter, Ken Stott and Stephen Campbell Moore
Director: Ben Palmer
Producers: Nira Park and James Biddle
MAN UP is a romantic comedy about being yourself… or perhaps not being yourself. It’s about taking chances, making decisions and rolling with the consequences.
It’s the story of mistaken identity and misunderstanding resulting in unexpected and hilarious consequences. It’s a roller coaster of a journey with numerous, exciting plots twists and turns that keep you gripped throughout.
The film is directed by Ben Palmer, director of The Inbetweeners Movie and produced by Nira Park and James Biddle (Hot Fuzz and Paul).
The plot is based around Jack, 40, played by Simon Pegg, turning up for a blind date with a 24 year old woman he “met” on the internet, at Waterloo station, London. He is set to meet his date under the famous clock in the middle of the station which is apparently a popular meeting place. However this is where it all starts to go wrong for he ends up meeting 34 year old Nancy (Lake Bell), who is not his date but somehow happens to be in the wrong place at the right time and due to Jack’s absolute certainty that she is his date, Nancy goes along with it. The premise is slightly reminiscent of ‘Sliding Doors’ and the drama’s that unfold when events take on an unexpected turn.
From there what unfolds is a warm, hilarious story that keeps you guessing regarding what will happen next. This is a British rom com of the highest order. It’s an enjoyable, exciting story that just makes for great, great cinema. There are multiple strands to it that will appeal to people of all ages – teenagers, middle aged men and women, twenty somethings and even long-termed married couples in their 60’s or 70’s (and younger of course).
In addition and in keeping with it’s wide generational appeal there is no sex, violence or swearing in the film! The film calls to mind The Love Punch (2014), another great British film starring actors of a certain vintage, where the cast were in a way acting below their age in an American University Campus film that would normally star a teenage / twenty something cast.
The film depicts various stories of singledom interwoven with unrequited lust, plus a celebration of the 40 year marriage of Nancy’s parents. All stories are given sufficient space to develop rather than being cameo’s.
The two lead actors, Simon Pegg and American Actress Lake Bell, deliver outstanding performances, which capture a really warm and genuine looking chemistry between them.
The motto of the film is #take chances and whilst not exactly the honourable thing to “steal someone’s date” it made for an enjoyably innocent romp all the same.
Man Up is without a doubt one of the best rom coms to come out in years. It’s a terrific feel good movie and a gem of a movie from BBC Films. With reported cuts of £150m to the BBC’s license fee this could be a way for the BBC to start recouping it’s imminent loss of revenue. This film deserves to be a huge hit and I hope to see to more films of this quality from BBC films.
Review © Tiemo Talk of the Town
Photograph © BBC Films
UK Screenings of Man Up film