Single, 34 and hung over - again - Nancy (Lake Bell) is exhausted by the endless and fruitless set-ups by her friends. Traveling across London to toast another 10 years of her parents' happy marriage, runs into 40 year old divorcee, Jack (Simon Pegg), who mistakes her for his 24 year old blind date. Nancy decides to go with it, and so begins the most chaotic yet hilarious journey of her life which neither of them will ever forget. There is drinking, truths, an old stalker class mate, lost divorce papers, lost hopes, competitive indoor sports ... and Jack finding out the truth that Nancy isn't her blind date.
Review by Louise Keller:
Upbeat, quirky and constantly amusing, this comedy of errors is like a single stream of consciousness; a relationship movie that takes place over one single night. Tess Morris' original screenplay is a clever twist on the girl meets boy scenario in which mistaken identity plays a part. The hilarious set ups glide from one scenario to the next as cynic and romantic juggle and struggle to find the pieces of the emotional jigsaw they are trying to complete.
In the opening sequence at a Hawaiian theme party complete with floral shirts and leis, we get a sense of Nancy's (Lake Bell) predicament. She has been talking to herself in the mirror, prepping herself for yet another date set up. 'Put yourself out there; take a chance' she tells herself, her crooked mouth changing directions alarmingly. Her date Ryan Wright is Ryan Wrong. The play on names continues as Nancy meets Jack (Simon Pegg), standing under the station clock at Waterloo Station, a copy of a best selling self-help book under her arm. We are complicit with Nancy in knowing that she is not the girl he is waiting for; it is Mr Popper's Penguin's Jessica (Ophelia Lovibond), a stitched up 24 year old she met on the train.
It's a rollercoaster of mishaps and laughs, including chance encounters with Nancy's old school flame Sean (Rory Kinnear) and Jack's ex wife (Olivia Williams) with boyfriend (Stephen Campbell Moore) in tow. Nancy's improvised pornographic sex meter routine is totally off the wall as is the compromising situation in the toilet. Meanwhile, there is the ongoing stream of phone calls from Nancy's sister (Sharon Horgan), who is agitating for her arrival at her parents' 40th wedding anniversary celebrations. The scene at her parents' house when everything comes to a head, is a hoot.
Filled with wonderfully inventive and offbeat ideas, the dialogue and action take off like a hyperactive plane that can't wait to make its ascent. The tone is not dissimilar to that of Four Weddings and a Funeral and the non-stop nature of things provides a laugh a minute. While there may be no surprises in the final resolution, there is no shortage of them during the madcap journey that takes us there. Pegg and Lake are both brilliant, their facial expressions, delivery and comic timing faultless. It's the kind of film that makes you feel so good, you want to see it again.
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MAN UP (M)
CAST: Lake Bell, Simon Pegg, Ophelia Lovibond, Olivia Williams, Henry Lloyd-Hughes, Rory Kinnear, Sharon Horgan, Ken Stott, Stephen Campbell Moore
PRODUCER: James Biddle, Nira Park, Rachael Prior
DIRECTOR: Ben Palmer
SCRIPT: Tess Morris
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Andrew Dunn
EDITOR: Paul Machliss
MUSIC: Dickon Hinchliffe
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Dick Lunn
RUNNING TIME: 88 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: StudioCanal
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: November 5, 2015