HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Man Up
HTS Overall Score:69
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=63913[/img]SummaryNancy (Lake Bell, donning an English Accent) is not exactly the happiest of people. She’s been burnt in the past by dates and is dodging her latest one with admirable vigor. After a blind date goes embarrassingly wrong, she gets on the train to her parents 40th wedding anniversary only to run into that chipper sort of self-help spouting young sprout who can’t keep their mouth shut. Totally enamored with this self-help book that has changed her life, this young woman Jessica (Ophelia Lovibond) gushes its praises only to walk off leaving said book behind. Running after her to return said book, Nancy accidentally is mistaken by the girl’s blind date as Jessica. Realizing that she hasn’t had a successful date in ages, Nancy doesn’t tell the truth, but rather goes along with the flow and becomes Jessica for a few hours.
Her date with Jack (Simon Pegg) goes swimmingly well until the fateful moment when Nancy has to reveal to the 40 year old divorcee that she’s NOT a 24 year old triathlete from the city and is in fact a giant mess of a 34 year old journalist who has been dumped one too many times. From here it’s a downward spiral of anger and betrayal as the two damaged people stop having fun and starting letting out all the anger that’s built up over the years. However, this is a romantic comedy and the outcome of the film has already been pre-ordained by the film gods to end with Jack and Nancy making amends and living happily (or at least enjoyably) ever after. Nancy and Jack end up going their separate ways, only for Jack to meet up with his 24 year old date, only to be slapped upside the face with the fact that he’s had a way more enjoyable time with his fake date than with the blind date he was supposed to have.
“Man Up” is a strange Hodge podge of rom com tropes, as well as a breath of fresh air at the same time. We have all of the standard tropes and clichés at play in the field. Man meets woman, woman meets man. They have a good time only to find out something nasty about the other person that totally ruins the whole fun evening. Then evolves into them finding out that their differences and flaws are what make them attractive to each other in the first place. However, what really changes things up a little bit is the role reversal with Pegg and Bell. Pegg is so usually adept at playing the unlikeable loser with a messed up life, but Lake Bell takes on that role with apparent ease. Nancy is a once bitten twice shy type of girl who has just let her miserable life fall down a billion flights of stairs into the toilet and shows no signs of getting out. She never wants to take any chances, and when she does it turns out horribly wrong in so many different ways. Pegg, on the other hand, is likeable and charming. Completely aware that he’s recovering from a messed up marriage where his wife cheated on him and is doing what he can to put himself out there.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=63921[/img]That’s not to say that Pegg has it all together. He most certainly does not, but the two messed up people working in tandem seem like the perfect pair. The tropes are bad. The script is rather clichéd, but the saving grace for the film is the chemistry that Bell and Pegg have together on screen. Lake Bell is always an adorably cute character, but here she’s almost unlikeable in her helter skelter emotional wreck of a life, but when she’s with the outgoing and funny Simon Pegg (well, Jack really) the likeability of her character comes out in spades.
The supporting cast is both a hindrance and a blessing with some hilarious and painful characters. Daddy dearest (Played by “The Hobbit’s” Ken Stott) is charming and graceful, while Nancy’s sister Elaine (Sharon Horgan) is hysterical to listen to. Jack’s ex-wife Hilary (Olivia Williams) is a highlight of the film with her stodgy and almost bitterly angry character plays as a good set piece for Jack and Nancy to play a wonderful game of emotional charades. The one character that was simply fantastic in his acting, but so horribly grating and annoying was Rory Kinnear as the old beau, Sean. He was funny for a moment or two, but the longer he was on screen the more you just wanted to punch him in the face. However, as much as I disliked the CHARACTER, seeing James Bond’s Bill Tanner in such a comedic roll was an eye opening experience for sure.
Rated R for language and sexual references
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=63929[/img]“Man Up” comes to Blu-ray with a very pleasing looking 1080p scope encode that admirably replicates the theatrical source of the film. Colors are a bit warm and cheery with golden overtones that give the movie a rich and honey colored look. Reds and blues show through with ease and darker bits of Nancy and Jacks’ date show up solidly. Black levels are strong with a little bit of banding and crush, but nothing overly wild. The only real big instance of banding that stood out like a sore thumb was at the very end of the film where Sean’s head lights come straight into the camera. Fine detail is solid and appealing with good facial detailing and a slightly softer array of wide angle shots that fits right in with the hazy pub for some scenes, and slightly out of place during the night time dinner date shots.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=63937[/img]The English 5.1 DTS-HD MA track on the disc is more than satisfactory for a comedy film and sticks to what it does best. Not surprisingly, “Man Up” is a very front heavy mix, with strong vocal replication as the main stay of the films audio support. There is some solid implementation of the surround channels with the roaring rumble of the pub, as well as the opening scene with the Hawaiian themed engagement party, but the majority of the film tends to keep the bulk of the sound in those front three speakers. Bass is tight and punchy, adding to the 80s rock inspired score, as well as few minor ambient sound effects like Sean’s car as it screeches to a halt in front of the wrong door. The track is simplistic, but does exactly what the film requires of it, even if that isn’t as complicated as your typical blockbuster.
• Gag Reel
• Simon and Lake Interview Clips
• The "Seven Beats of Man Up" Featurette
“Man Up” is both annoying and cute at the same time, creating a movie that is both fun and unenjoyable in equal measures. There are certain parts of the film that I really enjoyed, but the traditional Rom Com scenario was just so paper thin and discomforting at times that I ended up really feeling torn down the middle. Bell and Pegg work together amazingly well, but the lackluster scripting kept the movie from reaching the true potential that he stars could have achieved with some finer tuning. Audio and video are more than fine, which leaves me recommending this as a fine line between rental and skipping.
Starring: Simon Pegg, Lake Bell, Rory Kinnear
Directed by: Ben Palmer
Written by: Tess Morris
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1
Runtime: 89 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: February 2nd 2016
Recommendation: Low Rental
More about Mike