A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Set It Up is a New York City-set romcom in which bouncy, smart twentysomethings struggle to find their way in the high-pressure worlds of business and journalism. You can expect lots of swearing and sexual terms/references, including "a--hole," "s--t," "penis," "boning," "d--k," and even a brief discussion of "c--t." Characters also drink, heavily on one occasion, both in social settings and at home. Characters kiss, and there's an off-camera, comedic "peeing moment" on an elevator. But it's also pretty lighthearted, with some short--but-sweet messages about love and standing up for yourself, and the lead characters are mostly charming and innocent, so it's OK for older teens. Zoey Deutch, Lucy Liu, and Taye Diggs co-star.
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What's the story?
Harper (Zoey Deutch) and Charlie (Glen Powell) both have terrible bosses in SET IT UP. Harper's personal persecutor is Kristen (Lucy Liu), a celebrated sports reporter, who's as nasty as she is demanding. Charlie's oppressor is Rick (Taye Diggs), a venture capitalist who's as contemptible as he is egocentric. When Harper and Charlie meet while tending to their bosses' every whim, they come up with a unique solution: They'll fix up Kristen and Rick, since the two taskmasters really deserve each other. Their inventive plan works, but Harper and Charlie soon realize they can't rely on just introducing the two; they have to "babysit" the relationship and, in their own way, guide it from afar. In the process of saving their work lives, the two eager fixer-uppers end up spending a lot more time together than they anticipated. Charlie's romance with a model and Harper's fledgling fling with an online date are both compromised, as is their sense of integrity. When Kristen and Rick break up, the plotters' undertaking gets even harder -- so hard that they now spend time consoling each other. And everyone knows what that leads to.
Is it any good?
If Deutch and Powell were any airier or bubblier, they might just float away in this amiable romance that doesn't demand much but still delivers some fun, warm-hearted moments. Director Claire Scanlon keeps the pace lively and the characters appealing. And the story, though it goes exactly where you'd expect, feels fresh enough. Set It Up's dialogue -- like "If Miss Piggy and Voldemort had a baby, and that baby had low blood sugar..." (used to describe Harper's boss from hell) -- often sparkles, and the soundtrack's mid-20th century rock and roll music feels just right.
The cast does a fine job with the material. Liu makes her stereotypical tyrant almost likable, and Diggs has a great time thrashing around in fits of irresponsible destruction. It would have been too much if both of the villains had found their inner good guys, and Scanlon avoids that pitfall as well. Bottom line? This is a pleasant-enough, diverting comedy that will most likely appeal to romantic comedy fans.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the role that swearing and sexual language play in Set It Up -- and other movies. How do they contribute to the character development/set the tone? Do you think they're necessary?
Filmmakers often use friendships as a way to establish central characters. How did their friendships with Duncan and Becca contribute to your attitudes toward Harper and Charlie?
What is "predictability" in a movie or story? When did you guess/know how this movie would end? Can predictable movies be enjoyable if the characters' journey is insightful and/or fresh? What, if anything, made this story original?
What character strengths were emphasized in Harper's story? Charlie's?
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