No, the rom-com is not dead. Although the mainstream movie world hasn't been too kind to romantic comedies in recent years, mostly eschewing the kind of charming fare that Nora Ephron, Tom Hanks, and Meg Ryan built their careers on in favor of chemistry-less offerings that lean into gimmicks like intersecting storylines and high concept plotlines. The golden age of the tried-and-true meet-cute rom-com fizzled out long ago, but Ben Palmer’s deeply funny and very sweet “Man Up” fills the gap it left behind with underappreciated ease.
All the familiar pieces are in place – Lake Bell stars as Nancy, a ditzy Brit who is pathologically unable to put herself out there, while Jack (Simon Pegg) is a newbie divorcee who still isn't over his ex, off course the pair will fall in love after a horrific (and kind of accidental) first date – but Tess Morris’ witty script delights in taking the old tropes and turning them into something fresh and new. – Kate Erbland