Friday, June 15, 2018

Set It Up: Movie Review

Enjoyable romantic comedy with a playful cast, charming romance and amusing comedy.
A romantic comedy that knows it’s a romantic comedy that is both romantic and funny. Set It Up just radiates the type of enjoyable energy that romantic comedies should have. The actual romantic comedy plot, the one that viewers know will happen in the movie, stays on the back burner while the main plot plays out. The main plot is not just a distraction, it’s a funny, albeit simple, story that allows our two leads to meet, get to know each other, become friends and fall in love. 2018

Directed by: Claire Scanlon

Screenplay by: Katie Silberman

Starring: Zoey Deutch, Glen Powell, Lucy Liu, Taye Diggs

Harper (Zoey Deutch) is a do-everything assistant for her boss Kirsten (Lucy Liu), a very successful, well-respected sports journalist that Harper emulates. She doesn’t mind doing everything that her boss tells her to because Kirsten has earned that esteem and one day Harper will be able to write for her. Charlie (Glen Powell), at age 28, is a few years older than Harper and is an executive assistant for his boss Rick (Taye Diggs). Charlie has spent years slowly moving up the ranks and is ready for a promotion.

Zoey Deutch and Glen Powell in SET IT UP. Copyright KC Baily.
The main plot sees over-worked Harper and Charlie, commiserating over fears of getting fired for not anticipating their boss’s evening hunger, drunkenly concoct a plan to set them up on a date with each other. Rick is in the midst of an angry divorce and Kirsten hasn’t done anything but work for years. If only they could fall in love then Harper and Charlie could get on with their own lives. Their drunk joke quickly becomes reality and it’s actually funny. What the film lacks in originality or intrigue, it makes up for with universal jokes and a very engaging cast.

Lucy Liu is perfectly cast as a hard-working and demanding, but ultimately caring, boss. She shows a sweet side to Kirsten just enough that the audience is rooting for her love story as well. Diggs goes way overboard in making his antagonistic Rick a rich asshole who doesn’t care for anybody but himself. Kirsten and Rick were well-handled because they did actually have a lot in common, there was a basis for romance there, but despite how similarly they treated their assistants, they are also very different people. This is not just a Horrible Bosses romantic comedy, but with hints of how horrible bosses can actually be good bosses or the other way around.

There is a snobby nature to the film, every character looks down and talks down to everybody who is lower on the totem pole. Eventually we move past that obsession with job title, but the snobbishness should have been toned down.

The highlight of the film is Zoey Deutch as Harper. She is delightfully charming, an every-girl type character that has just the right amounts of neuroticism, beauty, self-doubt and a friendly nature with a desire to please. Set It Up is just as much her story as it is anything else. A girl that the audience will easily root for. She’s also smart enough that we don’t have to worry about her falling for Charlie before she has accepted his faults.

In addition to delightful leads, the film has surrounded them with a very funny supporting cast. Pete Davidson is hilarious as Charlie’s gay roommate, a very good friend for Charlie and Harper to have. He’s funnier than I have ever seen him on SNL; I guess that’s what happens when he has a complete character to play. Also look out for Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’s Titus Burgess as Creepy Tim (“Creepy” is part of his fitting name) as an elevator operator.

Set It Up is a well-paced romantic comedy with a playful cast, charming romance, and amusing comedy. I’ll be watching this a second time and probably start incorporating some of their one-liners into my life. That’s the mark of a good romantic comedy.

Afterwards if you need more of this cast, Deutch and Powell starred together in Richard Linklater's Everybody Wants Some!! where Powell is even funnier than he is here, and Liu and Diggs played a former couple in Ally McBeal.

Similar Titles:

Everybody Wants Some!!

Girls Trip