Monday, June 25, 2018

Set it Up (2018)

Number Rolled: 58
Movie Name/Year: Set it Up (2018)
Tagline: Finding love takes some assistants.
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Length: 105 minutes
Rating: TV-14
Production Companies: Treehouse Pictures
Producer: Juliet Berman, Carrie Fix, Justin Nappi, Katie Silberman
Director: Claire Scanlon
Writer: Katie Silberman
Actors: Zoey Deutch, Glen Powell, Lucy Liu, Taye Diggs, Joan Smalls, Meredith Hagner, Pete Davidson, Jon Rudnitsky, Tituss Burgess, Jake Robinson, Aaron Costa Ganis, Paulie Deo Jr., Noah Robbins, Leonard Ouzts

Blurb from Netflix: In desperate need of a break from the office, two beleaguered assistants team up to trick their workaholic bosses into falling in love.

Selina’s Point of View:
I went into Set it Up expecting your basic, run-of-the-mill, romcom. In concept, I was correct. In script…

To say the script was special, is an understatement. I’m unfamiliar with Katie Silberman’s (Newsworthy, Party Favors, Booksmart) previous work… but I want to see it all. If there are books to read, I want to read those, too. It is phenomenal that Silberman was able to take a relatively trope-y concept and see to it that I didn’t spend even a tiny amount of time bored.

The dialog was just incredible. It flowed so naturally that it increased the likelihood of me being able to suspend disbelief. The characters, as well, had so much thought put into them. Even the background characters had big personalities.

There was this one moment in the film involving Pete Davidson’s (Trainwreck, School Dance, Saturday Night Live) character that caught me completely off guard. I had to pause the film because I nearly fell off the couch laughing. It was beyond unexpected and SO well timed.

When it comes down to the bare facts, Set it Up is a recipe film. That said, it’s not old-fashioned. It’s more like a Bon Appetit recipe than grandma’s cookies. If romantic comedies went this route instead of feeling like the basic bitch of 90s romances, then they would start to have a bigger following. They would make more money at the box office and they would appeal to people on a deeper level than simply being part of an easy first date.

I want more of this. I specifically want more of Katie Silberman. I’m going to be looking for and consuming every piece of work of hers I can find.

Cat’s Point of View:
This movie was everything I expected it to be – and refreshingly unexpected at the same time. While that seems to contradict itself, there are some distinct reasons both fit to a ‘t.’ I had high expectations going in, after falling in love with the trailer. I know better than to do that, because I often get let down; and yet it drew me in.

I was expecting your average, yet enjoyable, romcom, and what I got was extraordinary magic. There was some serious kismet going on between writing, directing, and casting; let me tell you. I’m boggled that the screenwriter is so new to the scene, and I’m excited for what might come from her in the future.

Though fresh in the primary credited writer department, Katie Silberman (Hot Pursuit, How to Be Single, Midnight Sun) has most of her ‘recognizable’ work as a producer. I did notice, however, that she was the ‘assistant to writer’ for 11 episodes of Ben and Kate (2012-2013). As an assistant, I have to wonder if she had a demanding and exacting employer much as she portrayed in this film. Her perspective in the writing captures the essence of work becoming your life when you manage someone else’s. I know first-hand, as my ‘day job’ is currently as a temporary assistant to the executive assistant of a very busy lady.  That gave this film a little extra zing for me – yet, at the same time making it entirely relatable to those that have never had such an occupation.

Even better – this was the first big screen production for director, Claire Scanlon (The Office, Faking It, Brooklyn Nine-Nine). I want to keep my eye on her, too.

I also enjoyed the mix of Hollywood veterans and the ‘new guard’ amongst the cast for the main characters. Lucy Liu (Detachment, Future World, Elementary) and Taye Diggs (Private Practice, The Best Man Holiday, Empire) had to have had such fun in their roles. As their assistants, Zoey Deutch (Why Him?, Rebel in the Rye, The Disaster Artist) and Glen Powell (The Expendables 3, Sand Castle, Hidden Figures) just fit so well.

I could keep singing their praises but, honestly, I think their work here speaks for itself. The comedy here was on-point and felt fresh rather than recycled gags from other films. The Devil Wears Prada (2006) and Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead (1991) are both movies in a similar vein, and I adore them. This film, however, stands well on its own and has landed amongst the multitude of my favorites.

Gold stars for Netflix here. I would recommend this movie in a heartbeat. 

Speech Available: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish
Subtitles Available: French, Spanish, English, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 92%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 74%
Metascore - 60/100
Metacritic User Score – 8.3/10
IMDB Score – 6.6/10

Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating4/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating4.5/5

Movie Trailer:

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