One minute I am studying one of the classic and first Oscar-winning romantic comedies of all time, the next I can’t resist watching a movie called Man Up.
I wanted to watch the film, also in the romantic comedy genre, because of Simon Pegg and Lake Bell in the cast, not by any means because of its rather unfortunate title.
I don’t usually check the Rotten Tomatoes rating before watching a film, but at 81 percent I figured I didn’t have anything to lose with Man Up (I am going to come up with a better title by the end of this post.)
Bell (as Nancy) and Pegg (as Jack) certainly carry the film through its predictable moments and allow its cliché characteristics to be set aside in favor of their comedic skills, heart and on-screen chemistry.
Nancy, at 34, has given up on dating until Jack mistakes her for his blind date he was supposed to meet at the train station … known by the fact that they would be carrying the same book.
Jack is an interesting role for Pegg (aka Simon John Beckingham — this could be his rom-com surname) but he pulls off the romance and plight of a 40-something divorced man trying to meet the one, start a new career track and move on from his ex wife.
Nancy is mostly the opposite. She is ready to shut it down and not put herself out there in order to meet someone, despite the well-meaning encouragement from her sister and parents.
The night she meets Jack is her parents’ 40th wedding anniversary and she is forced to decide if she should miss it to spend time with him or be there to toast the crowd.
She is late to the party after a night of ups and downs with Jack. Ultimately, being at the party with her parents provides clarity for Nancy.
The ending is expected and cliché as well but, having just watched It Happened One Night, it delivers a tribute to the early films that set up those clichés for romantic comedies and Pegg and Bell play the perfect odd couple who you want to be together.
Throw in Here I Go Again by Whitesnake as the token power ballad and what’s not to like about Man Up? Oh yeah, that title. I get it, Nancy and Jack are “manning up” to face their fears, but it doesn’t need to be so literal.
It’s 5:40 a.m. so I don’t know if I can come up with anything much better but, after listening to a little Whitesnake to start my day, here are some suggestions:
The Lonely Street of Dreams? The Drifters? Here I Go Again? On My Own?
It could still be changed on the Netflix title card. Simon Pegg, call me.
Title aside I do recommend this film and, if you’re in the mood for a past and present double feature, it’s a good pairing with It Happened One Night.
“Like a drifter I was born to walk alone.”