Assistants have lives too!
Harper (Zoey Deutch) is a 23-year-old assistant to Kirsten Stevens (Lucy Liu), one of the premier sports journalists in the world. It’s a job she likes and has gotten used to, but really, deep down inside, she wishes for something more than just setting up appointments and getting coffee. Meanwhile, a floor down, 28-year-old Charlie (Glen Powell), assistant to Rick (Taye Diggs), wishes for the same thing. The two meet each other and eventually, they hatch out a plan that may save their careers for good: Set their two bosses up to fall in love and, hopefully, get married. It’s an ambitious plan that takes a lot of manipulating and planning, which is something both are very good at. However, it gets to be a bit much when not only do their bosses begin to fall for one another, but Harper and Charlie start to wonder how they both feel for each other and whether or not this is the right plan to stick to.
From the quirky characters, to the witty script, and to the NYC-setting, Set it Up feels like a throwback to the romantic-comedies of the late-90’s-to-early-aughts, which is not a bad thing. It reminds you of a simpler time, when young professionals were trying to make a difference in their lives, by not just finding out what they wanted to do with their careers, but also who they wanted to love. Sure, some of those movies haven’t held well in the public-eye, but they still make you feel nostalgic and remember a time that, in weird ways, seems to have come and gone.
But Set it Up is here to remind us that those kinds of rom-coms are alive, well, and still relevant.
What works perhaps best about it is that the silliness of the script and the quirkiness of the characters isn’t forced but feels genuine and, well, funny. Everyone here has a personality and a little something to bring to the movie, without it ever seeming like they’re types or just forced onto us, like most quirky things can get in movies such as this. Take a character like Pete Davidson’s, who plays Powell’s roommate: He’s the gay supporting character who is always the voice of reason, with something smart to say, and always saying what we’re all thinking. He’s a type, sure, but he’s a fun type that in Set it Up, knows what he is and sort of plays around with it.
That’s how the rest of Set it Up is: Self-aware enough to where it’s able to make jokes about the conventions and types of rom-coms, yet, still do something with it. Which isn’t to say that it isn’t cheesy, or unpredictable, but sometimes, that’s okay as long as you have a little personality to make everything go down smoothly. You can give me the same story I’ve seen a million times before, but as long as you change it up a smidge and make me laugh, then hey, do whatever the hell you want.
Shoot me in the face, I don’t care! Just entertain me, dammit!
And that’s exactly what everyone involved with Set it Up does, most especially, its cast. Zoey Deutch has been a rising-star for quite some time and it feels like she may have found her best role yet, that not only shows her as a quirky, lovable protagonist, but a person to get excited by seeing in anything she shows up in. You could make the argument that she’s basically just doing an Anna Kendrick impersonation, but it’s a good one and it’s one that makes you forget about her for a little bit of time and enjoy what Deutch brings. Same goes for Glen Powell who is comically handsome and sort of knows it.
Together, the two have a lovely chemistry that works in the tit-for-tat that they have, altogether allowing it to make sense when they do eventually fall for one another. Even though the movie never quite allows for itself to get as serious as can be, there’s something inherently beautiful about these two young, confused, yet incredibly ambitious professionals trying to wade their way through life, figure out what they want, who they want, and most of all, what difference they want to make in the world. They meet each other, fall in love, and remind us that these kinds of things are special, especially when you find the right place.
I’m not tearing up, I swear!
Consensus: While it doesn’t stray too far from the rom-com formula, Set it Up is still an enjoyably sweet, sometimes hilarious piece that showcases a great deal of likable talent to stare at and fall for over 100-minutes.
7 / 10
Photos Courtesy of: Netflix