Movie Date: Man Up

M's Mars v Venus movie review

STARRING: Simon Pegg, Lake Bell, Ophelia Lovibond, Rory Kinnear

DIRECTOR: Ben Palmer

THE SKINNY: Nancy (Bell) has never been lucky in the love department, and has given up on dating and men. However, a chance encounter with Jack (Pegg) on her way to her parents' 40th wedding anniversary may just change her view on romance. But he has mistaken her for his much younger blind date Jessica (Lovibond). Will she man up and tell Jack the truth? And will he accept Nancy for who she is?




One of the great mysteries of life is that normal-looking people are able to find love.

Normal-looking people like Pegg and Bell.

Or you and me, for that matter.

We all aspire to hook up with a Miranda Kerr or a Theo James, but most of us end up with someone less sextraordinary.

Like Pegg or Bell. Or you and me.

The question is, why would I want to watch a romantic movie starring a couple of plain actors?

Where is the fantasy? Where is the romance? Where is the thrill from seeing perfect creatures kissing?

Don't get me wrong, Man Up is pretty fun.

It's one of those British comedies, like Love Actually, that seems unnaturally buoyant, like they're trying to convince themselves they're Americans.

The basic premise is solid, and they do a lot with it.

The London setting is nicely realised, and peopled with a lot of colourful characters.

I especially like Kinnear, who plays a tacky fellow with a scary crush on Nancy.

Man Up isn't horribad, and it's actually quite insightful when it comes to real-life relationships.

Jack's callousness towards Nancy when he learns that she's not as young as he thought she was rings painfully true.

Trouble is, I'm not sure I need to watch a movie about real-life relationships.




Is a 30-something unattached woman destined for perpetual singlehood?

Age and attractiveness call the shots here.

And it's the guy who practises the double standards.

It doesn't matter if she's smart, sassy and successful.

Nancy may not be the sweet young thing. So what if she's a bit unconventional and not exactly beautiful?

Neither is Jack, so what gives him the right to be appalled and feel cheated when he finds out Nancy's real age and identity?

There's no mistake that Jack and Nancy have an instantaneous, easy chemistry.

This little rom-com addresses the reality of dating, and also examines how far one would go to be truthful on the first date.

Both Nancy and Jack have their reasons to hide the truth, and it's their prerogative. It's how each party handles the truth and deals with the revelation that makes Man Up work.

This is Palmer's feature film directorial debut, and while he has stuffed the movie with cliches, it's still charming enough.

Credit definitely goes to Pegg and Bell. Both are extremely pleasant and genuine, especially Pegg.

The Brit, who largely takes on geeky, oddball, man-child roles, shows a grown-up side. Still witty, Pegg amps up the charm and is a very entertaining leading man.

Could he be the new Hugh Grant of British rom-coms?


THE CONSENSUS: Man or woman, you’re likely to have a good time with Man Up