ByJames Wood, writer at
Unabashed Transformers fan. Man crush on Tom Hardy. Avid fan of Tommy Wiseau's cult disasterpiece The Room.
James Wood

You can't beat a good old British comedy, and in recent years the genre has been on fire. 2013's I Give It A Year was a laugh-a-minute howler loaded with terrific British talent, 2014 was home to Paddington and The Inbetweeners 2, and now one of the finest comedies in recent years Man Up stands as one of the best films of 2015. It gets off to a slightly rocky start but soon finds it feet.

Lake Bell plays Nancy, a single thirty something evaluating her life, mostly her romantic life. After a failed attempt at meeting her man at a wedding reception, things start to look up when she steals someone date and ends with Simon Pegg's Jack. The two begin an evening of bonding and drinking, but how long can she keep her lie and true identity hidden?

The meet-cue is superbly executed by the use of a best-selling book, I was watching this with my housemates and we all simultaneously let out a "ooh" sound. Man Up isn't a laugh out loud comedy, it feels grown up and sophisticated which is a nice change to, but there are some genuinely funny moments and brilliant one liners. A right corker comes from Nancy, "I bet she gets all the guys", commenting on a man's photo of his sister in his wallet, he then replies "She's dead". It's little deadpan lines like this that deliver big belly laughs, and some of the competitive nature and one up-manship between characters creates some entertaining tension and fire. Olivia Williams does this especially well in her scene.

My only niggle with this film is one scene where Nancy's sister and parents are in a wine shop, all the conversation feels like it has been plucked out from behind the scenes and doesn't feel gelled to the rest of the film, I got an "in joke" vibe. However, once this passes the breezy pace gets on. Simon Pegg and Lake Bell share immensely believable onscreen chemistry, and the fire and banter between the two never gets old, I'd love to see these two star together in another film playing opposite each other.

Rory Kinnear threatens to steal the scene in a completely shocking and memorable performance, he is almost unrecognisable both in looks and personality. I'm used to seeing him as Tanner in the Bond films so seeing Kinnear play an obsessed, creepy lovestruck high school beau to Nancy is refreshing and suitably over the top. Ken Stott, who played Balin in The Hobbit, stars as one of the coolest Dad's in film. He superbly delivers simple lines of banter and tongue in cheek innuendo, and becomes an all around amusing aspect in the film.

Directed with style and brisk pacing, Man Up is an unforgettable comedy with a cheery ending that at first seemed bleak and rather dark for a rom-com but the climax left me with a big smile on my face, Lake Bell owns this movie and nails the British accent with a problem and Simon Pegg is at his most charming, I highly recommend this film.


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