Cert: 15 / 88 mins / Dir. Ben Palmer / Trailer
It's not often that I'm enthusiastic about seeing a rom-com with Simon Pegg in it, since his film career outside of Edgar Wright's Cornetto Trilogy has been patchy at best. But the trailer for Ben Palmer's Man Up hinted at something more than 'Hector And The Search For A Patronising Screenplay', largely because Pegg doesn't play the lead character. A central character, certainly, but not the lead. That's an important distinction to make because Man Up really isn't his film; it belongs firmly to Lake Bell as Nancy, a 30-something singleton who's faintly neurotic about being left on the shelf, but not to the point where she won't actively avoid social situations because her fear of making an idiot of herself is even greater. A bit like Bridget Jones, but relatable to everybody.
That said, while Bell lifts the film above the ordinary rom-com (with a flawless accent, it has to be noted), it's something she can only do with Pegg as her support and foil. His character of Jack is more than just the film's telegraphed happy-ending, and in terms of character development, it's Pegg that gets the heavy-lifting. Together, Lake Bell and Simon Pegg are quite fantastic in an astonishingly average film. The supporting cast of much-loved Brit actors all pull their weight, although it often feels like they're over-egging things a little. That said, the film scores bonus points for Rory Kinnear deftly stealing every scene he's in as quietly-obsessive stalker Sean.
All in all, a far better film than it has any right to be.
While it's not exactly breaking the mould of the romantic-comedy, Man Up left me pleasantly surprised, demonstrating that a twee, one-track story can still be touching, likeable and - most importantly - funny.
Come for the farce, stay for the Whitesnake on the soundtrack.
As much as I enjoyed it, probably not.
It's a Sunday-night DVD, although you can probably get away with a rental.
I haven't seen Lake Bell's earlier work, but this is certainly one of Pegg's better non-Cornetto roles, yes.
I think it does, although it's best to remember that it's never trying to be anytning more than an amiable rom-com.
Man Up stars none other than the perennial prequel-basher himself, Simon Pegg, who voice-starred in the prequel-era animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars as fearsome ESB bounty hunter Dengar, who falls off a moving train during a light scuffle, rubs his head comedically and says "Ah, poodoo!" in a broad Cockney accent.
I wish I was making that up.
• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
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