Lake Bell is one of the coolest women in Hollywood. She writes, she directs and she manages to be funny and clever even in lame hot girlfriend parts (‘It’s Complicated’, ‘No Strings Attached’). In fact, she’s perhaps too cool to be totally believable in the Bridget Jones-y tragic spinster role she plays with a flawless British accent in this London romcom.
She is Nancy, a sad single loser (her words), who’s jaded and cynical after a round of crap boyfriends. When a set-up at an engagement party goes disastrously wrong, Nancy accidentally on purpose steals another woman’s blind date at Waterloo Station – newly divorced Jack (Simon Pegg).
Decent romcoms are as common as politeness on the tube, so fair play to ‘Man Up’, it has its moments. First-time writer Tess Morris gives Nancy some smart lines that every woman over 30 will relate to. In the loos at a club, after Jack’s busted her for impersonating his date, she puts down a group of sniggering twentysomethings: ‘Laugh it up girls, I am your future’. Bell is so goofy and likeable I found myself willing the film to keep up with her. But the funny bits are never quite funny enough, and the script loses feminist points bigtime for its sour bitch ex-wife character.