Hey you guys/gals 🙂
Things have been a bit busy for me lately, so yesterday I took myself on a date-break to the Electric Cinema in Shoreditch. While the Portobello Road location is my absolute favorite, the two theatres don’t have the same films showing at the same time. I’ve seen approximately 9 zillion posters for Man Up in the Underground, on the sides of buildings, and tattooed on the foreheads of sweet old ladies knitting socks in the park. I was intrigued. It’s been a while since my last romcom fix, so this film came along just in time.
I got to the theatre 2.5 hours early (because I refused to pay to go home only to turn around and come back out in a couple of hours) so I took advantage of the brunch offerings at Barber & Parlour (where you can also get a haircut or a manicure if you fancy) and ordered the Ham hock hash & fried egg with watercress…
After my extremely satisfying meal, I went to the basement lounge to read and wait for the cinema to open. The staff kept shooting glances my way, as if it’s odd to sit in a lounge alone, reading a book, when there are haircuts, manicures, and booze to be had upstairs. Ah well…we can’t all be normal. Before too long, I was freed from the curious stares of passersby and allowed to enter the screening room. Now while, as I said, I prefer the Portobello Electric, one thing I love about the Shoreditch location is that you can purchase an “angled view armchair” seat for only £8 (£10 less than the cost of a regular armchair seat). There are four such seats to choose from, at either end of the first two rows. I always choose the same one if it’s available so I can’t speak to the view from the other three angled seats, but the view I’ve experienced hasn’t stopped me enjoying whatever film I’m watching. Now onto the movie itself.
I knew the basic premise going in — woman semi-accidentally goes on a date with a man who mistakenly believes her to be his blind date and ends up having a great time — but wasn’t sure what type of romcom to expect. I mean, you’ve got your kinda cheesy ones (How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Valentine’s Day, The Holiday), teen favs (Clueless, 10 Things I Hate About You, Mean Girls), your quirky originals (Obvious Child, 40 Year Old Virgin, What If), and the raunchy/ridiculous variety (Bridesmaids, What’s Your Number?, Pitch Perfect), plus all the kinds I haven’t even mentioned. Since what I watch is dictated by mood, I love every single type of romcom there is because, however I’m feeling at the moment, there’s always one that hits me just right.
Therefore, I was curious as to what category Man Up would fall into, but came out of it unsure as to what the filmmakers intended (tbh, I think they were, too). It’s got elements of the realistic, adorable cynicism that makes Bridget Jones’s Diary a favorite of mine, but it also has this really awkward element to it. The characters speak quickly when they’re embarrassed and make jokes/statements that don’t receive reactions from other characters right away, all of which is almost embarrassingly realistic. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before, but I have this habit of covering my face with my hands and watching between my fingers — not when something scary is happening on screen, but when something embarrassing is happening. I definitely did that a couple of times while watching this film, but more often than not I was so caught off guard by the truth of a character’s manner that I felt too much empathy to cover my eyes — so I just inwardly cringed instead.
The movie is definitely funny, but not in the way I was expecting. Most of the laughs came from the awkwardness/strangeness of comments and situations, whereas with actors like Simon Pegg and Lake Bell — who I for some reason see as typically playing characters who proactively drive their stories forward — I went in expecting just flat out raunchiness. Not at, like, Hangover level, but still, more active, less passive. But the story seemed to drive the characters forward, not the other way around. But I LIKED that surprise! It added to the realistic, cringiness of it all. Because that’s what it’s like when you meet someone new — you tiptoe around a bit and try to feel them out; you worry about revealing your entire self too quickly. I think the characters, and the movie itself, conveyed that sensation really well. And in the end, we got that bit of cheesiness that romantic comedies are known (and loved) for. All in all, a pretty good addition to the romcom ranks.
After the film, I got one more cocktail. The Redchurch Barber & Parlour always has a special, featured cocktail themed for whatever movie is showing downstairs. The one they have now is called “Blind Date.”
Best (and only) blind date I’ve ever had 😀