Man Up (2015) Film Review by Gareth Rhodes

Man Up (2015) Directed by Ben Palmer. With Lake Bell and Simon Pegg. 


Under the direction of Ben Palmer (known best for The Inbetweeners), Man Up is a bright n’ breezy Brit-com starring Lake Bell and Simon Pegg, who find themselves on a blind(ish) date in London. Written by Tess Morris (her first major solo work), the film is positively crammed with fun dialogue, supported by attuned performances that fully grasp its essence and make it laugh-out-loud funny.

Although it’s regularly acid-tongued, it’s still cosily British, wearing its Richard Curtis influences proudly, and in doing so, makes itself accessible across the Atlantic. There’s clearly a huge effort made to ensure American attention…and why not!? Just like the lions share of US Rom-Coms show-off New York (I’d throw most of them TO the lions), Man Up isn’t afraid to be loved-up on London.

Lake Bell and Simon Pegg are nothing short of perfect, as well as being the perfect screen pairing. Physically, there’s little that’s overly showy about either of them, which is a huge step up for the audience’s ability to relate to their characters. It’s one of those films that as the sentiment escalates, you feel a sense that it has earned the right to throw cheese-balls, as you fight all of your natural instincts not to ‘tear up’, knowing full well that shedding any eye water to a film this strategically designed to prompt it, is full-blown ridiculous.

Of course, much of what happens could only do so in a movie, but isn’t that sometimes exactly what we’re looking for? In keeping with the ages of the leads, the obligatory crowd-pleasing soundtrack is faithful to the 1980’s, as are many of the jokey references. Ultimately, as is the case in more or less any ‘rom-com’, what gives Man Up its broad appeal, is the strength of the writing, bound together with two enjoyable central performances. 4/5


About garethrhodes

Full-time lover of all things creative.
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10 Responses to Man Up (2015) Film Review by Gareth Rhodes

  1. R.L. Terry says:

    I haven’t seen this one, but it sounds like one that I should watch sometime. Thanks for reviewing it!

  2. Lloyd Marken says:

    I’ve known Lake Bell since she was an incredibly hot babe on Boston Legal but recently she’s being doing some really neat work that reveals how she is so much more than just a pretty face which includes this. The film has its weak moments for me (Richard Curtis does it better) but I liked the two leads so much I enjoyed myself for most of the journey and cared what happened. I love the finale for all its silliness but if I were her parents I’d be like hey this is about our anniversary and go shag in your own bathroom. 🙂

    • garethrhodes says:

      Oh really, she started out on that show? I know what you mean about Curtis doing it better, although I wasn’t a fan of his film, ‘About Time’. The worst thing about Man Up, is its title.

      Haha! Good point, if ever there was a ‘get a room’ moment…

      • Lloyd Marken says:

        Yep season 1, maybe 2. Actors get dumped quick on Kelley shows. I let you in on a little secret. I love About Time, it was one of my favourite films of the year. I cried during the beach scene although I don’t have any sentimental memories about beach holidays. In fact first thing I ever blogged 2 years ago was a long review professing my love for the film. Hahahaha. Classic. But we’ve got Joan Rivers, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Prometheus, Star Wars, Iron Man, Barfly, Kubrick. We like a lot of the same stuff and when we don’t I always find your points illuminating. 🙂 Have you seen Creed yet?

      • garethrhodes says:

        Haha, yes, we have enough in common to get along, and anyway, I understand the appeal of About Time. Sometimes, it just boils down to little details that either irritate or annoy. Maybe I’ll watch it again, one day, and see it from a different angle.

        No, I haven’t seen Creed yet, which in annoyed with myself for. I bought all the Rocky movies, and fully intended to watch/review them before seeing Creed. Life has gotten in the way.

      • Lloyd Marken says:

        You liked Balboa so Creed has a good chance of floating your boat.

      • garethrhodes says:

        I’m designed to love a good boxing movie, especially one with Balboa in it. 🙂

  3. I was really surprised with this movie. I was expecting another “raunchy” Rom Com and yet it was so much better than that. Very fun writing and the two leads worked great with each other.

  4. I’m sure this film has just become available on Netflix? I saw it somewhere anyway. The title put me off immediately, but your review has persuaded me to give it a try.

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