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E.C. Henry

Interest piqued! (Actually I had been reading Scott Myers in depth interview of Tess Morris over that last couple of weeks so interest was piqued earlier).

Tess Morris is a mega hottie! She should have been the female star in this movie. Lake Bell has TOO big of a smile. Reminds me of the Chesser Cat from "Alice in Wonderland". Anywho, loves out to Tess Morris. Love the fact that Billy's book help inspire her, I've been saying this for years; Billy's book gives us all a good place to fall back too so we can all "Man up" to a higher version of rom-com.

Joni B.

Nice post! I saw the N.A. premiere of MAN UP at the Austin film festival and wow -- best I've seen in a long, long time. I've anticipated its release since hearing about this movie back in the summer and I giggled and cheered and laughed outrageously throughout.

Also a Mernit fan with quite a dog-eared copy of said book, it was fun to hear Tess Morris talk about it during Q&A and to proclaim her love of rom coms, as she said, "unashamedly". Loved that!!

Got to briefly meet her after the screening and was a delight to tell her how she's "set a new bar". Much inspiration to the screenwriter-on-the-verge in myself. No doubt I'll give a nod or two Billy's way when I finally find my way with one of my scripts. Congrats again, Tess Morris!


Thanks, EC - Hope you enjoy the film, when it finds its way to your neck of the woods.

Joni B: Thanks for your comment. Glad you saw the film and Tess in Austin - I hear it was a blast. And I look forward to your"nod" when your movie gets made!

Ourdia Hodge

Hey Billy, hope you had a great Thanksgiving.
One question, if your were to pick three things that make Man Up special as a rom-com, what would they be? And no, that Tess loves your book (which I own) cannot be one of them:-) Cheers!


1. Most rom-coms would take this movie's premise - Nancy's ruse - and run it all the way to the 2nd act break (i.e. the big reveal that she's lied to Jack would be the thing that separates them). Tess has Nancy's exposure occur much earlier, so the movie deepens as it becomes more about specific character-driven issues (they both have to "man up," etc.).

2. When the movie does use a standard obligatory rom-com beat, it tweaks it with a funny, imaginative surprise: witness the "run to the airport" third act scene of Jack running to Nancy's place... accompanied by a huge squad of partying teenagers.

3. Tess's screenwriting voice, distinguished by a classic screwball rom-com wit in her verbal gags: There's consistent tart and smart humor throughout, in such quirky one-offs as the "Dead sister!" toast, even in throwaways like Nancy's muttered "Not a good book" response to Jessica's DaVinci code line on the train. Morris just thinks funny, I'd say; I haven't heard such delightfully skewed and nimble banter since the heyday of Richard Curtis.

Billie Bates

Thanks for the recommendation, Billy. I really enjoyed this. It did raise a question in my mind about the 'comic relief' character that often comes up (here it was the high-school crush guy).
Did you find him oddly out of place for a a relatively grounded rom com? There weren't really any broad gags or characters except for him.
The flatmate in Nottinghill comes to mind as another example, but that didn't seem as jarring to me, for some reason. My attention was a little diverted while watching, so maybe it was my surface level engagement that threw it off.
Also, Is this tonally acceptable in dramedies as well as rom coms?


Billie, I know what you mean, and I just think that Rory Kinnear's is such an outsized performance that too much is made of the part (i.e. they left too much of him, in the cut). And re: tonal acceptability for dramedy, it's actually a pretty common ploy (i.e. the "quirky"comic relief minor support), but again: just don't overdo it.

Ourdia Hodge

Thanks, Billy, those are great points, definitely give food for thought. Cheers!

Billie Bates

Yes! now that you put it that way, it comes across as a post edit issue. All good points, thanks!

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