There’s nothing quite like a good romantic comedy. The cute moments that bring a smile to your face, the heartbreaking break-ups, the silly, overacted moments that make you laugh out loud. So, when Netflix released Set It Up, a rom-com starring Zoey Deutch and Glen Powell, I was more than excited to see whether or not it lived up to my high expectations.
Set It Up follows Harper (Deutch), assistant to feisty sports writer Kirsten (Lucy Liu) and Charlie (Powell), assistant to the arrogant and competitive Rick (Taye Diggs). Harper and Charlie hatch a plan to ‘Cyrano’ their bosses in order to gain more time for themselves. However, it soon becomes apparent that they have ‘Cyrano’d’ themselves instead.
As far as rom-com’s go, this one isn’t half bad. It’s funny in places, cute in others, and always predictable. On a scale of one to Hugh Grant, this movie is a solid Matthew McConaughey. It’s not the best, but it definitely has the potential for some memorable moments.
The chemistry between Harper and Charlie is undeniable, and the jokes that bounce back and forth between them are mildly amusing and highlight the oh-so-quirky personalities of the pair. As far as leading characters go, these two have a spark, and it makes their relationship as friends, and as something more, so much more believable.
Romance movies should make you feel happy and warm inside. Set It Up brings a lightness that not many movies achieve anymore and doesn’t take itself too seriously. Although, at some points, it seems like this movie is trying too hard, coming across as a description of love rather than an expression of it.
Yes, everyone loves a good memorable scene in a rom-com: the boombox scene in Say Anything, the single fist in the air in The Breakfast Club, the backstage kiss in Love Actually. However, this movie tries to make every moment a memorable one, which ultimately makes the majority of this movie forgettable. It’s amazing what simple writing can do for a movie: Set It Up gets too complicated too fast, stopping any true romance from happening as there is too much to be explained.
Some of the elaborate schemes and plans do have some pay off though. Without the elevator ruse, we would not have met the wonderful character that is Creepy Tim. Played by Tituss Burgess, Creepy Tim is the maintenance man who helps the dynamic duo to Cyrano their bosses in the first place. He is weird, unsettling, and easily the funniest part of this film. His five-minute scene is the most memorable thing about the movie, and that’s because it doesn’t feel overacted or fake: you actually believe that Creepy Tim is that creepy in real life.
Despite the delight that is Creepy Tim, unfortunately, that isn’t what the main ethos of a rom-com is all about. Ultimately, it’s about the butterflies that you feel when the movie crescendos, or about the pride you feel at the end of the movie when the two leads finally put their differences aside and succumb to love. This movie didn’t give me butterflies, it didn’t make me proud, but it did make me happy. Granted, it wasn’t the best rom-com I’d ever seen, but it definitely put a smile on my face.
One of the aspects I liked most about the movie was the soundtrack. Vintage classics are interweaved with the stunning New York scenery to provide a backdrop lovelier than the love story itself. Stevie Wonder, Dusty Springfield and many more all come together to provide some of the best love songs known to man; only problem being, the sheer brilliance of these songs only further highlights the mediocrity of the plot, working both for and against the favour of the film simultaneously.
There are more romantic comedies in this world than all the romantic gestures ever performed combined. Some are legendary, setting the standard for most people entering a serious relationship. Others are given their five minutes of fame, only to be pushed to the curb when a new movie comes along. Set It Up is a combination of the two: it tries so hard, but ultimately, falls short. It’s an entertaining piece of cinema, but will it be a must-have for most movie collections? Probably not. Will it put a smile on your face? Most definitely.