Man Up is on the better and all around fun surprises of 2015 in a genre that doesn’t very often surprise. The chemistry, both romantic and comedic, shared between Simon Pegg and Lake Bell really propels combine that with some genuinely funny scenes, even surreal, it makes for a breezy brit-rom-com.
Genre(s): Comedy, Romance
Lionsgate | R – 89 min. – $19.99 | February 2, 2016
Date Published: 01/30/2015 | Author: The Movieman
THE MOVIE – 3.75/5
Damn the British know how to make a romantic comedy. Sure, Man Up is no Love Actually (but what is?) however although it is rather conventional in some respects, the movie does buck the trend for the genre by giving up the big reveal a third of the way through.
Nancy (LAKE BELL) is a woman in her mid-30s unlucky in love and is rather cynical. A chance encounter with a young woman named Jessica changes all of that. Jessica is on her way to a blind date who doesn’t know and the only way to know one another is carrying a self-help book.
After a brief discussion, Jessica leaves the book with Nancy in the hopes she can turn her life around. While Jessica purchases another book, Nancy just so happens to be standing at the spot where the blind date arrives, a man named Jack (SIMON PEGG). But before she can correct him, she decides to embrace the situation, which is completely against her character, and goes with the flow telling him she is Jessica and the pair embark on a sweet and fun date going from a dive bar to a bowling alley where Nancy runs into an old classmate (RORY KINNEAR) who has been pining after her for years, and although she initially avoids being exposed, the situation results in her being outed; this was one of the more pleasant aspects of the movie as the filmmakers didn’t stretch things out until the inevitable finale.
Instead, after the reveal, the two begin confiding in one another from her failed long-term relationship to Jack’s impending divorce from a woman who cheated on him and is now with another man. They each attempt to help the other and it results with Nancy and Jack growing closer together and just very well may fall in love…
Man Up is one of the more satisfying surprises of the year. It’s certainly got a conventional feel without being too conventional but one of the reasons is works is the unlikely pairing of Simon Pegg and Lake Bell, neither of whom one would consider the typical types to star in a romantic comedy.
Thanks in part to some sharp writing, with the fun casting, and consistency with the laughs courtesy of simple direction from Ben Palmer (“The Inbetweeners”), I found it to be a breezy yet still vastly entertaining flick. Sure, it doesn’t have the magic or probably the staying power of Love Actually, but man (no pun intended); I really enjoyed this and easily say it’s at the very least worth a rental if not full-on purchase.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 3.0/5
This release comes with a semi-glossy slip cover. Inside is a redemption code for the Digital HD copy.
Simon and Lake Interview Clips (4:07; HD) is a selection of footage from the two actors answering a variety of questions.
The Seven Beats of Man Up (40:32; HD) – This is an unusually, especially nowadays, expansive behind-the-scenes featurette chronicling the origins of the story, casting the characters and an overview of the plot.
Gag Reel (6:23; HD)
Previews – Some Kind of Beautiful, “UnREAL” Season 1, She’s Funny That Way, MI-5, The Forger
VIDEO – 4.0/5
|Lionsgate releases Man Up onto Blu-ray presented in its original 2.40 widescreen aspect ratio and a 1080p high-definition transfer. The picture is pleasing with bright, cheerful colors throughout in keeping with the rom-com genre while detail was decent enough. This is obviously nothing I’d call reference quality, but for what it is, the transfer is nice.
AUDIO – 4.25/5
|The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is fairly heavy from the beginning with the LFE channel kicking it into high gear with house music played over the opening sequence; it was a bit too heavy, but after that sequence, things did settle down for crisp and clear dialogue levels and the music/score comes through the front and rear channels rather well.
OVERALL – 3.75/5
|Overall, Man Up is on the better and all around fun surprises of 2015 in a genre that doesn’t very often surprise. The chemistry, both romantic and comedic, shared between Simon Pegg and Lake Bell, who sports a convincing British accent, really propels combine that with some genuinely funny scenes, even surreal, it makes for a breezy brit-rom-com. The Blu-ray released through Lionsgate offers good video, nice audio and although the features are limited in quantity, they excel in scope.
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.