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Man Up - review

Jun 18, 2015 Film & TV

There are three reasons I like Man Up, even though its title appears to have been picked at random from a “Things you wish people would stop saying” phrase book.

One: its title is, in fact, a piece of cleverness hiding in plain sight, with three distinct jobs to do. It tells us that Nancy wants to find a man. It tells us that someone needs to change their attitude. And it misleads slightly, by hinting that this is yet another story with a male point of view.

Two: this is not just another story with a male point of view. It was directed by Ben Palmer but written by newcomer Tess Morris, and has the unmistakeable stamp of a woman’s voice. The jokes have flavour. They don’t always work, but they mostly do, and when they miss, it isn’t because Morris is playing safe. (Watch out for Nancy’s creepy former school friend — I don’t think a man could have written him.)

Three: Lake Bell. This is not Bell’s first romcom, and it’s not her first starring role — she wrote and directed the comedy In A World…, which was never released in New Zealand. So this is Kiwi movie-goers’ first real chance to see what Bell can do, and let me put it this way: Simon Pegg is in this film and he’s good, but see it for Bell.

Oh, the story? It’s a romcom so you’ve seen it all before — but actually, you haven’t. Man Up is an honest-to-goodness fun night out.


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