Set It Up – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

The title card for the movie "Set It Up"
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You know how in school, or at work, someone said “That person needs to get laid” as if that would fix everything? That’s the premise behind Set It Up.


Director(s) Claire Scanlon
Screenplay By Katie Silberman
Date Released 6/15/2018
Genre(s) Romance, Comedy
Good If You Like Movies Which Take Place In New York

Films That Have Two Characters Who You Know Will End Up Together

The Struggles of Being In Your Mid-Twenties And Feeling Like You Haven’t Made It Yet

A Charismatic Female Lead

Characters Which Evolve From Villainy To Just Being Complicated

Noted Actors
Harper Zoey Deutch
Kirsten Lucy Liu
Charlie Glen Powell
Suze Joan Smalls
Rick Taye Diggs
Becca Meredith Hagner
Mike Jon Rudnitsky
Duncan Pete Davidson

Summary

At 25, Harper finds herself in an odd place in life. Her best friend Becca is about to get married and what does Harper have? No love life, she still isn’t a sports writer, and she sometimes works up until midnight for sports reporter turned online publication mogul, Kirsten.

On the flip side, there is Charlie. He is 28, has a model girlfriend who is 23, Suze, he rarely sees, and he works for Rick. Someone who is an investor of some kind, dealing with a divorce, and has seemingly, on a weekly basis, throws a temper tantrum which leads to his office being destroyed.

One night, as Kirsten waits for Harper to get her food from downstairs, Charlie ends up negotiating with Harper so that he can get food for Rick. This leads them to eventually decide, since they work well together, to try to set their bosses up. After all, they know everything about them and control their calendars. Plus, once they are together, that means more time for them and less staying at work until 10PM+.

However, will they use this new time wisely, will they reach their ultimate goal of being an analyst or writer, much less – will setting two people up for selfish reasons blow up in their face? Well, you got to watch to find out.

Collected Quote(s) or .Gifs

There are two kinds of compliments to give a woman: The things she thinks about herself but needs confirmed, and the thing she doesn’t think anybody notices about her.

You like because, and you love despite.

You’re not hard to get at all, you’re hard to earn.

Highlights

Becca and Mike’s Romantic Subplot

Becca recalling what her grandmother told her about liking someone and loving them.
Becca (Meredith Hagner): You like because, and you love despite.

The only romance in the whole film you may want to invest in, deals with two characters who, I’d bet you, have less than 20 minutes of screen time. And mind you, it isn’t even what they do but what they say that makes them cute. Like Becca’s engagement part speech which led to the collected quote “You like because, and you love despite.” In that, we get one of the rare moments when you are led to believe this movie could be about more than 4 miserable people.

That, maybe, it could evolve into someone finding genuine love, like these two, and that being the reason you tell your friends THEY MUST see this movie.

The Way Kirsten Is Written and Performed

Kirsten sitting at her desk smiling.

Perhaps the sole character we see throughout the movie who is noteworthy is Kirsten. I’m talking about, I sorely wish Kirsten was the focal point. Sort of like Jacqueline, in The Bold Type, she can be hard and demanding, yet there is this loveable nurturing side to her. Yet, unlike Jacqueline, her professional life doesn’t match her personal. In fact, it appears Kirsten doesn’t have a personal life. Making her being hooked up with Rick something you wish we got to see more of from her perspective. Be it the fiasco at the Korean BBQ or even the moments which led her to believe, after a few weeks of dating, she was in love.

For then, maybe the film would have had some depth or something to offer. Rather than be another film focused on 20 something-year-olds who are lost, confused, and having what almost seems like a mid-life crisis.

Duncan

Though Pete Davidson’s role as Charlie’s roommate isn’t big, each scene is kind of a wake up from the monotony of the production. For whether it is his distaste for Suze or Rick or him bonding with Harper, so comes the idea that this movie could have been done without Charlie. For, especially taking note of his relationship with Harper, seeing him struggle as a gay school teacher working in the Bronx and her trying to go from an overworked assistant to writer, that would have been far more interesting. Especially considering Davidson bringing this real unabashed attitude to the character, without making him seem like a douche.

Criticism

Harper and Charlie’s Relationship

Harper looking at Charlie in such a way that you can tell she is analyzing where they may end up.

Taking note of Becca and Mike, this closeness that Harper and Charlie have, no matter how much Deutch puts her charm in overdrive, just doesn’t really work. It just feels forced because they are young, fit, and the leads vs. them having a good chemistry and a story that makes you fall in love with the idea of them.

On The Fence

No One Gets That Much In The Way of Development

Harper is 25, wants to be a sports writer, and works too much. Kirsten is a sports journalist who is single and works too much. Rick is a soon to be divorcee with one child, who is an investment banker and works too much. Charlie is an assistant just trying to make money, have a beautiful girlfriend and, you guessed it, works too much.

This is pretty much the sum of each of the main characters. Something that doesn’t really evolve over the course of the film. When Harper, though she eventually writes one article, the movie is so reliant on Deutch’s charm and Liu’s everything to make it so you don’t think this is a bargain bin movie. Especially because the men, outside of Davidson, really don’t bring much to the table.

Something that I don’t know if I should be looking at the writing for the reason or the actors. On one hand, Kirsten is written as someone interesting and while Harper comes off like a generic 20 something, Deutch elevates her a bit. As for the men? Charlie is so basic. His worries deal with having enough money to impress a model. Which becomes him just wanting to find something he enjoys but we don’t get that journey. We just see him reach that point after being shamed by Harper.

Rick getting mad about his date with Kirsten that made him look foolish.
Rick (Taye Diggs): She did this shit on purpose to make me look stupid.

Then with Rick? He is a man-child. He throws tantrums which leave his office destroyed, he stomps on laptops, and while Kirsten is given some oomph by us seeing her work and be a boss, Rick is purely status. We don’t see him close deals or anything which makes you understand why he gets so ridiculously frustrated. He is just a caricature. A reject from a poor man’s The Wolf of Wall Street.

Leading you to believe that maybe, just maybe, the point here was to show how much men could get away with, in terms of behavior vs. how women have to be in the white collar world. Because you know Kirsten, even if she did own the publication, could get away with half the antics Rick does.

Overall: Mixed (Divisive)

This is the kind of film which has interesting characters placed in a story which just doesn’t work for them. Could the whole set up thing have worked? Yeah, but if it was from Kirsten’s point of view. How about boosting Harper wanting to be a writer? Again, it could but then you got boring ass Charlie and over the top Rick. Thus giving us one character who needed to have a bit more oomph and another brought down a few notches.

And while I could go on and on with what should have been done, let’s just face facts with what is: What we have here is a film which deserved a “Mixed” label. It’s lopsided, the character development is bleh, and the story makes this film the kind of production which makes Netflix seem like the internet’s bargain bin for entertainment.


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About Amari Sali 3331 Articles
New Jersey native Amari Sali takes the approach of more so being a media advisor than a critic to sort of fill in the gap left between casual fans of media and those who review productions for a living. Thus being open about bias while still giving enough insight, often with spoilers, to present whether something is worth seeing, buying, renting, streaming, or checking out at all.

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