Genre: Romantic Comedy
Cast: Zoey Deutch, Glen Powell, Lucy Liu, Taye Diggs
Director: Claire Scanlon
Synopsis: Two overworked and underpaid assistants come up with a plan to get their bosses off their backs by setting them up with each other.
I love me a good romcom from the Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks sagas of the 90’s to Julia Roberts, Reese Witherspoon and Kate Hudson owning it in the early 2000’s, this genre of feel good movies is my fave when I just want to chill with something light and funny. I hadn’t seen a good romcom in years, and when I saw the trailer for Set It Up I knew this was something special.
Lucy Liu and Taye Diggs are the big names to draw you in, as they play the high-powered bosses – Kirsten and Rick. But Zoey Deutch as Harper and Glen Powell as Charlie really steal the show as the two assistants. I was strongly side eyeing the movie when I first saw the trailer because you know the movie is really about the assistants and I was in it for Lucy and Taye, but Zoey and Glen completely charmed me.
Harper has that charisma of the clumsy, too-busy character which was synonymous of the best friend role in classic romcoms, and Charlie is the easy-too-please, still-assistant-at-age-28 role that usually plays a secondary role. By all accounts Kirsten and Rick should be the main story of the film, two high powered executives who have no time for romance have a meet cute and fall in love – but it’s like watching this movie while also watching the scriptwriters falling in love. Harper and Charlie are the scriptwriters.
That’s not to say that we are completely distracted from Lucy Liu and Taye Diggs, Zoey Deutch and Glen Powell who are both excellent comedic actors, hold their own against the heavyweights, but Lucy and Taye are still excellent. Taye gives one of the funniest performances I have ever seen when he throws a tantrum over paper, and Lucy has this chilling yet warm intensity in her role which makes you can’t help but admire her, and see why Harper worships her.
Criticism-wise there is a lot not to like if you aren’t a fan of romantic comedies – it is predictable, it is yet again about two young white people falling in love, it has some unrealistic expectations. And it’s true, it is modern in much of the subtext, but if you had made this movie in the 90s or 00s it would not be out of place, there are no big risks taken. But there is still a sense of comfortability and nostalgia that makes it a perfect romantic comedy.
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