Lake Bell impressive as ‘Brit’

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Mikey Clarke reviews Man Up (15), showing now at Showcase Cinemas Peterborough.

Whenever it comes to British romantic-comedies, I can’t help but compare them to the works of Richard Curtis. The creator of Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill and About Time, set up a formula that many filmmakers have tried to copy. Most fail.

Although the director of Man Up – The Inbetweeners Movie helmer Ben Palmer – doesn’t quite reach the summit of Richard’s mountain, he gets further than most.

This rom-com focuses on Nancy (Lake Bell), a 34-year-old woman who has had enough of the stresses that come with dating. After finding herself at the right place at the right time, she comes across 40-year-old divorcee, Jack (Simon Pegg), who mistakes her for his blind date. Nancy decides to ignore her nagging conscience and goes along with it.

During their venture around London, how does Nancy cope with pretending to be someone else? And, could this be that one successful date she’s been longing for? You’ll have to watch the film to find out.

What works best here is the genuine chemistry between Bell and Pegg – which is what gives it that extra mark – and the American actress (playing impressively as a Brit) particularly shines throughout as a likeable lead you’ll be rooting for.

The writer, Tess Morris, has confessed that the film is comprised of her own dating experiences – and it shows – with the script written with the brutal honesty that could only have come from experience.

I must warn you though, Man Up is a very character driven film, and lacks the numerous slapstick situations that are found in a Curtis flick (last reference, I promise).

But, although a film that is essentially a couple walking and talking may seem a little slow paced – it really works.

And the fairly short length of the film results in the closing credits running just before the concept could become a little tedious.

Rating: 4/5