Set It Up (2018) ☆☆☆(3/4): How they distract their bosses


“Set It Up”, which is currently available on Netflix, is a conventional romantic comedy with some fun stuffs to enjoy. Again, we are served with two different characters who pull and push each other until they come to realize they are really attracted to each other, but the movie mostly works thanks to not only the comic chemistry between its engaging two lead performers but also several witty moments to be savored, and the result is fairly enough to compensate for its notable shortcomings.

After the opening scene which amusingly shows the constantly busy life of many assistants working in New York City, the movie focuses on Harper (Zoey Deutch) and Charlie (Glen Powell), two assistants who have been quite frustrated and exhausted because of their respective bosses. Harper has hoped to write good sports articles someday as a legitimate journalist, but she has been stuck in her current position as busily assisting her boss Kirsten (Lucy Liu), who demands a lot from Harper as the editor-in-chief of an influential online sports news website. Charlie has desired to go further in his financial business career, but he has been so far merely toiling for Rick (Taye Diggs), a cocky, successful financial broker who occasionally shows his volatile temper to Charlie and whoever happens to be around him.

Although both of them work in the same building, Harper and Charlie have never come across each other as spending most of their time on their works, but then they come to have your average Meet Cute moment through a small coincidence during one late evening. When Harper comes down to the lobby for getting the delivered dinner for her boss, she belatedly realizes she does not have the cash to pay for it, and that is when Charlie hurriedly comes into the scene. He also needs to get the dinner for his boss as soon as possible, so, after a few minutes of negotiation between him and Harper, they come to divide that delivered dinner for their mutual benefit.


When they later see each other again, Harper and Charlie casually share their many difficult moments under their respective bosses for cheering up each other a bit, and then they come upon a rather brilliant idea for making their life a little easier. As hard-working assistants, they know almost everything about their respective bosses, so they decide to manipulate Kirsten and Rick into a possible romantic situation which may distract them enough to make them less demanding than before.

Although their first attempt to set Kirsten and Rick together is not so successful to say the least, Harper and Charlie make some advance when they have Kirsten and Rick be around each other during a Major League baseball game, and, what do you know, their plan turns out to be far more successful than they ever imagined. While they still need to manipulate Kirsten and Rick more, Kirsten and Rick seem to be genuinely fallen in love with each other, and they also become nicer to their respective assistants, who are certainly pleased to have chances to enjoy each own personal time. While Charlie is happy to spend more time with his current girlfriend, Harper finally has a date with some nice guy, and she even considers going further with that guy.

Of course, we soon come to see that there is a certain mutual feeling growing between Harper and Charlie, who still regard each other as friends/accomplices even after spending their precious free weekend together. Although there eventually comes a predictable plot turn which separate them to some degrees, we all can see that Charlie and Harper are destined to be with each other, and we certainly cheer for them when they respectively make an active forward step as expected. While Zoey Deutch, who previously played minor supporting roles in several films including “Everybody Wants Some!!” (2016), is disarmingly plucky, Glen Powell, who also appeared in “Everybody Wants Some!!” and played a notable supporting role in “Hidden Figures” (2016), effectively complements his co-performer with his likable appearance, and their many scenes in the movie are delightful to watch thanks to their effortless comic chemistry.


As the other couple in the story, Lucy Liu and Taye Diggs have lots of fun with their broad characters. While he is not entirely convincing in his role, Diggs is effective in his few crucial scenes with Liu, and Liu gives the most entertaining supporting performance in the film as confidently chewing her several juicy scenes with Deutch. In case of other supporting performers in the movie, Meredith Hagner and Pete Davidson fill their conventional roles as required, and I was particularly amused by the brief but hilarious appearance of Titus Burgess, who recently became more prominent due to his scene-stealing supporting performance in Netflix sitcom series “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”.

I must point out that the screenplay by Katie Silberman shows weak points from time to time. I was relieved to see that the movie does not lag during its obligatory third act, but this part still feels quite predictable while also being less fun compared to the first two acts, and I think the supporting characters in the film could be depicted with more depth and personality for generating more laughs for us.

Anyway, “Set It Up” is marginally better than most of countless romantic comedy films out there, and it did a good job of constantly entertaining us under director Claire Scanlon’s competent direction. It does not bring anything new to its genre, but it is a solid Netflix product packaged with enough charm and wit, so I mildly recommend it to you.


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