Review: Man Up

DIR: Ben Palmer • WRI: Ben Palmer • PRO: James Biddle, Nira Park, Rachael Prior • DOP: Andrew Dunn • ED: Paul Machliss • DES: Dick Lunn • MUS: Dickon Hinchliffe • CAST: Lake Bell, Simon Pegg, Rory Kinnear

 

Man Up begins with Nancy (Lake Bell), a thirty four year old cynic on the verge of being set up by a pair of friends at their engagement party. She’s pretty adamant that she’d rather spend the night with a great deal of food and an Anthony Hopkins film. After a great deal of pushing by everyone in her life, who’s sure that all she really needs to turn her life around is a man, Nancy enters the fray and begins the awkward dance of the blind date. Faux-pas is followed by awkward silence, which is followed by more faux pas and then by the inevitable flame-riddled car crash that the ordeal was always going to become. No, not literally.

Dejected and, quite probably hung over, Nancy gets on a train and begins making the journey to her parents’ fortieth anniversary party. She soon attracts the attention of her train-neighbour, the fiercely together Jessica, who strongly tries to push the self-help book Six Billion People and You as the solution to what she sees as Nancy’s problems. When Nancy disembarks from the train, she’s soon approached by the eager Jack, (Simon Pegg), whose blind date has said she’ll signal him by holding a copy of that very book. When Nancy realises the case of mistaken identity, she’s about to correct him until a film reference makes her realise that this could well be the man she’s been waiting for, and decides to go through with the date, pretending to be someone else.

Oh, didn’t I mention that this is a rom-com? My mistake.

Well, if you’ve ever seen a romantic comedy before, you probably won’t need much more of an explanation on what goes down. The formula’s all there, with just a few curve balls thrown in for good measure. We’ve got Nancy’s initial juggling to keep the lie going and trying to adopt someone else’s attributes while being very much herself, the unfortunately timed misunderstanding, the (somewhat sexual-assaulty) rival for Nancy’s affection, the ‘I’m broken too’ moments and the obligatory heartfelt speech. While Man Up seems to have a very tongue-in-cheek approach to some of the tropes of the genre, playing up old chestnuts with a wink and a smile, it also keeps a pretty straight face for more than a few. This seems like an attempt to please everyone who loved How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days (guilty), with just enough gross out moments (and Simon Pegg) to draw in anyone who likes a touch of discomfort with their comedy (also guilty).

Pegg and Bell are on top form, each bringing something likeable and grounded to their characters and their relationship. Scenes walk a fine line between humour and human emotion, with only a few incidents that feel out of place. While Pegg is on top form, it really is Bell’s film and her moments and quips are likely to be remembered well after the film ends. Rory Kinnear’s portrayal of an obsessive suitor begins with endearing humour and very quickly enters some less charming, more disturbing territory, though the film seems content to ignore this for the most part.

It’s got laughs, it’s got romance, it’s got Simon Pegg. Man Up is very much a romantic comedy and a damned good one. It may be somewhat by the book, but it’s a book with rude words and funny pictures in it.

At last, a rom-com for the cynical cinema-goer.

Ronan Daly


15A (See IFCO for details)

87 minutes
Man Up is released 29th May 2015

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Edgar Wright House Weekend at Light House Cinema

 

Light House Cinema has announced that Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost will be in attendance at the cinema for a live Q&A as part of Edgar Wright House, an exclusive weekend-long event running from 5th – 8th July. The weekend will celebrate Wright’s films in anticipation of the upcoming release of his new film The World’s End on 19th July, a Universal Pictures Ireland release.

 

By purchasing one of the very limited Edgar Wright House tickets, fans will gain access to a selection of Wright’s films, screening over the course of the weekend at Light House Cinema, with Hot Fuzz showing on Friday, Shaun Of The Dead on Saturday, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World on Sunday and finally a live Q&A with Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost on Monday evening. The live Q&A will be preceded by a screening of two episodes of Spaced, the successful Pegg-penned and Wright-directed British television sitcom.

 

To mark the occasion, Light House Cinema have teamed up with Damn Fine Print Studio and BLOCK T for an exhibition of limited edition Edgar Wright themed screen-printed posters which will be exhibited in the cinema over the course of the weekend. Artists participating in the project are local illustrators Steve Doogan, Steve McCarthy, Ale Mercado, Fatti Burke and Gavin Beattie. Damn Fine Print Studio BLOCK T is a new community based print studio based in Smithfield.

 

Edgar Wright’s new film The World’s End, starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, follows five friends who reunite in an attempt to top their epic pub crawl from 20 years earlier but unwittingly become humankind’s only hope for survival. The World’s End opens at Light House Cinema on 19th July.

 

Tickets for Edgar Wright House weekend at Light House Cinema will be available to purchase on Friday 28th June from www.lighthousecinema.ie and are priced at €20. The weekend ticket gives fans access to all of the screenings over the course of the weekend and the live Q&A with Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost on Monday evening.

 

EDGAR WRIGHT HOUSE weekend

5th – 8th July at Light House Cinema

Friday 5th              Hot Fuzz

Saturday 6th       Shaun Of The Dead

Sunday 7th           Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

Monday 8th         Spaced and Live Q&A with Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost

 

Edgar Wright House weekend tickets cost €20 and include all screenings and Live Q&A.

Limited tickets will be available to purchase on Friday 28th June from www.lighthousecinema.ie

Tickets for individual films not sold separately.

The World’s End opens at Light House Cinema on 19th July.

 

Artwork by Alan Dunne

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Cinema Review: A Fantastic Fear of Everything

DIR: Crispian Mills Chris Hopewell • WRI: Crispian Mills • PRO: Crispian Mills, Geraldine Patten • DOP: Simon Chaudoir • ED: Dan Roberts • DES: Chris Hopewell • Cast:Simon Pegg, Paul Freeman, Amara Karan, Clare Higgins

Jack (Simon Pegg) is a children’s books author who has decided to try his hand at writing a book for adults. His first foray into the grown-up world finds him getting in-too-deep with his research into Victorian England serial killers, and pretty soon Jack’s mind has become so warped by the stories and images that he has subjected himself to that he has become a paranoid recluse, never leaving his filthy apartment, and constantly aware of the (imaginary?) threat of a serial killer lurking in the shadows. However, Jack’s agent has told him that someone is interested in buying the rights to his new novel, and has arranged a meeting for them. So now Jack must face leaving his apartment, the possibility of being murdered, and his life-long fear of laundrettes…

Simon Pegg ramps up his jittery energetic presence to 11, fully realizing Jack’s mania, but since most of the movie is spent with Jack talking to himself, it begins to feel more like a one-man stage play than a proper movie. And once Jack does leave his apartment and is forced to interact with strangers, Pegg dials down the crazy, and the comedy is left to fend for itself in a series of increasingly unlikely and unfunny scenarios.

Written and co-directed by Crispian Mills, the former front-man of ’90s rock band Kula Shaker, the film is not left wanting for ideas, with Jack finding the potential for death in the guise of Christmas Carollers, dirty socks and, yes, laundrettes. Unfortunately the film never fully coalesces into a whole, with some interesting and well-acted moments sandwiched between some dull, toneless or scattershot scenes.

Rory Cashin

Rated 15A (see IFCO website for details)
A Fantastic Fear of Everything is released on 8th June 2012


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