Two young New Yorkers work in the same midtown Manhattan deluxe office building as assistants to high maintenance bosses. The assistants are practically nannies and party planners for these bosses, working so late on a regular basis that they have no social lives of their own. The two assistants meet in a stressful situation, get the know each other and then hatch a plot. Since each handles a boss' schedule, they will manipulate their schedules so that the bosses happen to meet and eventually start dating. That way, maybe the two dating bosses will mellow out, ease up on their hyper office demands and give the assistants the ability to actually leave work a reasonable hour and have a social life.
Yes, the two will fall for each other after they've manipulated their bosses into a love connection. Of course, they'll discover a serious glitch in their arranged love connection.
Lucy Liu hits the right note as the high maintenance sports journalism publication boss who uses a bullhorn to proclaim orders in the office. Taye Diggs is the other boss, a business whiz and a macho jerk in need of repetitive slaps like the kind Jack Nicholson gave Faye Dunaway near the end of CHINATOWN.
This is not a romantic comedy that one can put on the same high shelf with classic films like THE AWFUL TRUTH, THE PALM BEACH STORY, THE LADY EVE, MIDNIGHT, THE MORE THE MERRIER, PILLOW TALK and ANNIE HALL. But it definitely satisfies in that category we used to call a good "date night" movie.
This is the first feature film directed by Claire Scanlon. Please, Hollywood, please give her more romantic comedy screenplays to direct. The lead actors are Zoey Deutch as Harper and the handsome Glen Powell as Charlie. Powell was excellent as astronaut John Glenn in the movie HIDDEN FIGURES.
SET IT UP is easy entertainment and it's easy on the eye. I used to work near where the office is located. I've seen Manhattan areas used as exterior locations in SET IT UP countless times in the 20 years I lived in New York. Director Scanlon took areas that have been shot before and made them look new again with different angles and smooth editing. She gave Manhattan a fresh look. She gives us a fresh, modern romantic comedy.
As did classic romantic comedies and musical comedies of Hollywood's Golden Age, SET IT UP gives us supporting characters who may have just one comedy scene but these funny characters just about steal that one scene they have. In this, we have a very funny Tituss Burgess as the building maintenance engineer. The shirtless man in the elevator, the waiter who never gets a tip from cash-challenged Harper and the lady at the jewelry store ... those were bright and funny bit parts played memorably. Those are the kind of parts I've longed to do in movies.
Katie Silberman wrote the script. There's a rooftop engagement party scene. The fiancée gives a short speech that's a little piece of unexpected heaven. What she reveals to her guests is so true about the nature of love -- and we get a sweet reminder of it at the end of SET IT UP.