Plot: What’s it about?
Having met my wife via match.com, I’d have to say that I’m a believer in blind dates. Yes, yes…I know. I know the stigma and the uncomfortable-ness of the whole “blind date” thing, but really – how different is it meeting someone online rather than bumping into them at a bar? Right. You don’t really ever know someone until you sit down and start talking. That’s the premise behind Man Up…sort of. I’ll cover the rest of the plot in the next paragraph, but first I have to praise Mr. Simon Pegg. He’s given us entertaining film, one after the other and I enjoy them all. Of course it all began with Shaun of the Dead which led to Hot Fuzz which led to his inclusion in the Star Trek reboot as well as being a player in the Mission: Impossible films. The guy’s got range, being able to fend off zombies in one film and hold his own with Tom Cruise in another. That’s talent. Yet with all of that, he still has an endearing quality which serve as the basis of some of his more light-hearted films. If you’ve not seen Run Fatboy Run – do. Along the same lines, we’ve got Man Up; a rather predictable but nonetheless enjoyable film about mistaken identity.
Pegg stars as Jack, a recently-divorced man who’s ready to hop back on the horse and try his luck in the dating world again. Nancy (Lake Bell) is a rather “interesting” person (she recites lines from Silence of the Lambs on dates) who tends to rub people the wrong way. After a chance meeting on a train, Nancy is given a book and, while standing in a train station, meets up with Jack. Unbeknownst to Nancy, Jack was supposed to meet someone with said book in that particular location. Jack thinks Nancy is his blind date and Nancy, figuring she has nothing to lose, plays along. As it turns out, and as we knew would happen, Nancy and Jack hit it off having a jolly old time. We know that the time will come when Nancy has to fess up and let Jack know that she was not his blind date. Still, there’s obvious chemistry between Nancy and Jack and we know that they’ll most likely end up together – but the question is…how?
Aside from the predictable plot, stolen right out of every 80’s sit-com, there is something deeper here. There’s an obvious chemistry between Lake Bell and Simon Pegg and it wouldn’t surprise me if they starred in another film together. Oddly enough, I found one thing a bit intriguing (and I suppose that this is just a matter of personal preference). If you do have a blind date and, in a situation such as this, do end up meeting someone else and hit it off – why bother with the original blind date? Some time ago I was supposed to have a date with a girl, went out with a few friends and met a girl there and had a great time. I never really bothered to follow up with my “original” blind date and just went with the one that fell right. Granted we broke up two years later, but that’s beside the point! At any rate, those looking for a rather charming date movie will feel right at home with this one.
Video: How’s it look?
For those that want to see some sights of London, you’ll get a few fleeting shots of the skyline. However Man Up mainly takes place bars and dimly lit interior settings. The 2.40:1 AVC HD image isn’t bad by any means and in fact the exterior shots certainly look great. Simon Pegg’s baby fie red hair lights up the screen and is contrasted by his rather pale flesh. Detail is tack sharp as well, we can read the print in books and get all sorts of little tidbits here in there in the backgrounds of scenes. Contrast is strong and black levels are solid which all combine for a rather pleasing viewing experience.
Audio: How’s it sound?
By and large, Romantic Comedies aren’t really known for their robust soundtracks and Man Up doesn’t do anything to alter that stereotype. Thinking back to the film itself, I can’t really recall any instance that really stood out as being memorable, audio-wise. The movie is dialogue (and situation) driven so I had to convince my wife that Lake Bell was actually American and not English. It’s become so common for English actors to do American accents, but yet almost unheard of for it to happen the other way around. That being said (so to speak), I really found no fault in the DTS HD Master Audio mix. A handful of surround effects are present, namely in a crowded bar or bowling alley, that liven up the track but aside from that and the dialogue – it’s a pretty straight-forward affair.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- Gag Reel – Shenanigans on the set.
- Simon and Lake Interview Clips – Simon Pegg and Lake Bell try to maintain their composure as they’re being asked the standard variety of questions.
- The Seven Beats of Man Up – For those that don’t know, a “beat” is an acting term in which the mood of a character is changed. That’s about all I remember from my acting classes. In this surprisingly long EPK we get a lot of information about the movie, the shoot, the casting and everything in between. It’s more than I was expecting and well worth a watch (if the movie was your cup of tea, which I assume it was if you’re reading this).
The Bottom Line
Simon Pegg seems to possess an indelible quality of genuineness which, in no small part, is why he’s so amiable and enjoyable to watch. Man Up might not be the most original movie, but it’s fun to watch even though you know what will happen in the first ten minutes. The Blu-ray looks and sounds good and while the supplements are a bit sparse, are worth checking out.