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Ben Palmer
Lake Bell, Simon Pegg, Rory Kinnear, Ken Stott, Olivia Williams
Writing Credits:
Tess Morris

A single woman takes the place of a stranger's blind date, which leads to her finding the perfect boyfriend.

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 89 min.
Price: $19.99
Release Date: 2/2/2016

• Interview Clips
• “The Seven Beats of Man Up” Featurette
• Gag Reel
• Previews


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


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Man Up (2015)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (February 10, 2016)

With 2015’s Man Up, we take a look at the modern dating scene. 34-year-old Nancy (Lake Bell) finds herself fed up with the singles scene, especially since her friends and family force one bad set-up after another on her.

On the way to her parents’ 40th anniversary party, Nancy meets Jack (Simon Pegg). He mistakes her for his blind date – 24-year-old Jessica (Ophelia Lovibond) and rather than correct him, Nancy decides to run with it. We follow their time together and how their relationship evolves.

Man Up feels like a throwback, as more than anything else, it resembles romantic comedies of the 1990s. Not that “meet cute” flicks like this reside in any clear period, but something about Man Up screams 90s.

Maybe it’s the way the movie ignores the 2010s in one notable, perplexing way: the blind date itself. We see that all involved have smart phones, so why didn’t they send photos to each other to facilitate the first meeting?

Because then there wouldn’t be a movie. Man Up packs one contrivance after another, all with ever-diminishing returns. I can’t help but think we get nothing new in Man Up, and all the rom-com clichés we find have been done better elsewhere.

It’s the rampant idiocy of the film that bugs me the most. It takes one questionable premise after another and crams them all together to make an incoherent mess. Who sets up a 40-year-old like Jack with a 24-year-old? And who believes the 36-year-old Bell is 24, a notion required to swallow her impersonation of Jessica?

I don’t know, as there’s no logical reason for these choices and a smarter, more creative movie could easily come up with better explanations. Set Man Up in 2005. Make Jessica 29. Voila – logic gaps eliminated!

Unfortunately, the movie’s radical lack of logic doesn’t become its only flaw. At its heart, Man Up sinks because it’s a rom-com that seems neither romantic nor comedic. Bell and Pegg form a chemistry-free couple, partially because they act at each other, not with each other. They seem to be in competition to dominate the screen and fail to ignite any sparks.

Which is a shame, as I think both are talented. They just gain no traction here, and Bell’s awful attempt at a British accent doesn’t help. We might have to go back to Kevin Costner’s Robin Hood to find an American stab at an English accent that fails so miserably, though at least Costner abandoned ship along the way. Bell’s poor accent remains a wound that never heals.

Bell and Pegg don’t sink the movie, though, as its script fails it all on its own. Clearly Man Up believes it offers a clever, witty experience, as it seems quite sure of its own excellence. Unfortunately, it comes across as crude and charmless, with nary a laugh on the horizon.

Add to that unlikable characters and you get a flop of a movie. Man Up boasts potential but it never finds a groove and ends up as a plodding dud.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B/ Audio B-/ Bonus C-

Man Up appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie came with a good but not great transfer.

Sharpness looked mostly good. A little softness cropped up during occasional shots, but the majority of the film was fairly accurate and distinctive. I witnessed no shimmering or jaggies, and edge haloes remained absent. As expected, the film lacked any print flaws.

In terms of palette, Man Up went mainly with amber, though some teal and red emerged as well. Within the stylistic choices, the hues seemed fine. Blacks were deep and tight, and shadows looked smooth and clear. Although the image didn’t dazzle, it appeared satisfactory.

The movie’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack suited the story. This meant the soundscape accentuated general atmosphere and not much else. A sequence on an train opened up matters, and bar scenes boasted some good involvement, but most of the mix seemed pretty restrained. The elements added a little breadth but not much.

Audio quality appeared good. Speech seemed distinctive and concise, without roughness or brittleness. Music was warm and full, and effects came across as accurate. This ended up as a decent mix for a romantic comedy.

Only minor extras appear here, and we start with interview clips from actors Simon Pegg and Lake Bell. Both sit together for this four-minute, seven-second discussion of working together, romantic-comedies and dating experiences. They mostly joke around, but it’s mildly interesting.

The Seven Beats of Man Up goes for 40 minutes, 32 seconds. It gives us info from Pegg, Lake, producers James Biddle and Nira Park, writer Tess Norris, director Ben Palmer, choreographer Litza Bixler, and actors Ken Stott, Harriet Walter, Ophelia Lovibond, Keir Charles, Stephen Campbell Moore, Olivia Williams, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, and Rory Kinnear.

We learn about the project’s development and path to the screen, character/story areas, cast and performances, the “seven-beat” romantic-comedy structure, Palmer’s impact on the production, locations, a dance scene, and general thoughts. With 40 minutes at its disposal, I hoped for a deep look at the film’s creation, but insteadm “Beats” favors fluff. We learn a little along the way but too much praise and superficial material dominates.

Next we get a six-minute, 23-second Gag Reel. This offers a largely standard compilation of mistakes and silliness. It does include some alternate lines, though, which makes it better than average.

The disc opens with ads for Some Kind of Beautiful, UnREAL, MI-5, The Forger and She’s Funny That Way. No trailer for Man Up appears here.

Desperate to offer wacky, witty charms, Man Up instead becomes a grating bore. Cliché-filled and with no intelligence or inspiration, it delivers a poor excuse for a romantic-comedy. The Blu-ray brings us mostly positive picture and audio along with minor supplements. Chalk up this film as a major disappointment.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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