A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Man Up is a romcom that mostly takes place over the course of one long, alcohol-soaked afternoon and evening in London. The main characters (played by Simon Pegg and Lake Bell), spend the day flirting, drinking, arguing, drinking, and eventually falling for each other -- over drinks. Expect a lot of swearing (including "s--t," "f--k," and more) and some pretty graphic conversations about sex (including discussion about giving and receiving oral sex), though very little actual physical contact beyond kissing.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Nancy (Lake Bell), who's been burned by relationships, isn't even looking for love when a stranger mistakes her for the blind date he's supposed to meet in a busy train station. She decides to just go with it and is surprised to discover that she actually seems to have a connection with Jack (Simon Pegg), even though he's convinced she's someone else (a 20-something tri-athlete who works in finance). To keep the date going, she'll have to maintain the charade, which gets harder and harder as the night goes on.
Is it any good?
Many romcoms stretch their stories just past the point of believability, juggling entertainment with possibility, but MAN UP stretches your suspension of disbelief past the breaking point. There are just so many reasons why this film makes no sense; not only will viewers be unable to think it could happen to them, but few would even want that to happen. Pegg and Bell (almost believable as a Brit, despite the in-and-out accent) feel so flat together that it's hard to tell that they're falling for each other -- and even harder to figure out why.
When Nancy and Jack inevitably argue, that also feels contrived, and it's tough to see why he feels compelled to search for her later. The only thing that's consistent here is the drinking -- the two of them are knocking drinks back constantly all through the afternoon and into the night, so perhaps that's what they see in each other: a drinking partner who's fuzzy around the edges. But the audience is likely more clear-eyed -- and less likely to settle.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how movies/the media tend to portray love and relationships. Why are Nancy and Jack so bitter about relationships? How do their feelings make it difficult to actually connect with people? Are they typical romcom characters? Why or why not? Does the conflict in the film seem real or contrived?
How important is honesty in a relationship? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values when it comes to relationships.
How is drinking portrayed here? Do any of the characters seem overly dependent on alcohol? Why or why not? Are there realistic consequences?
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