‘Set It Up’ is the Feel-Good Movie We Need Right Now

By we, I mean you. And me. And everyone, really. Have you looked at the newspapers? At the world?

The answer better be yes. Even when the world sucks, we can’t be the type of people who don’t look, not in this day and age. Look. Call. Protest. Fight. And then, when you need a break, maybe queue up Netflix and watch this.

If you have been reading the news, you’ll understand that by right now I mean at any point – today, tomorrow, this weekend, all of those combined.

Yes, I’ve already watched it three times. What is shame? I feel perfectly comfortable with my choices. I might be watching it a fourth time tonight.

Because Set It Up is, above all things, pure, unadulterated fun, the kind I didn’t think rom coms would still be in 2018. It’s almost the kind of fun that got Ocean’s 8 criticized for not being more, except it’s that while also adhering to the rules of the genre. And no, it’s not touching any deep subjects – it’s not going to change the world, and it’s probably not gonna save it, but it might, just might, help you recharge your batteries as you get ready to continue fighting.

Which, right now, feels almost like more than we could hope for.

The movie is also, not so surprisingly, considering it has a female writer and a female director, very feminist and very 2018, as if the rom com we always loved but sometimes made us cringe because the ideals for romance have rightfully changed in the past 20+ years has been given the perfect makeover.

For example, take the moment when Harper is describing Kirsten and Rick to the guy who’s going to help her get them on the kiss cam at Yankee Stadium. Was I the only one expecting a sorta sly racist comment? Am I just so used to expecting the worst? Have I become jaded?

What about the whole thing with Harper being the sports geek while Charlie is the stuck up guy in a suit at a baseball game? Was I the only one expecting that to earn her a sexist comment or two?

lucy liu pizza GIF by NETFLIX

I’m pretty sure it wasn’t just me. And the reason I’m pretty sure is because, at this point, I’ve been on the receiving end of just about every sexist comment when it comes to women and sports. Because yes, we do like them. No it’s not because the guys are hot. Yes, we do know the names of the player, what position they play and what that means.

And we absolutely don’t have anything to prove to anyone.

Not that that was the point of the movie, but it’s always good to see things like this reinforced, even if it’s in subtle ways.

That aside, though, the movie is not just fun, romantic and charming; even though, surprise, surprise, it is all of those things, it’s also very, very smart and respectful.

Yes, it’s a rom com. Yes, it stars two up and coming actors who have enough chemistry that I’d honestly cast them opposite each other in absolute everything from now on.  Yes, it relies heavily on the gravitas Taye Diggs and Lucy Lui bring to it. And yes, it sorta hits the expected beats, even up till the end.

And yet, it still has a few tricks up its sleeve, the most important of all being how much you’re going to relate to absolutely everyone, but mostly Harper.

Zoey Deutch steals the movie, and even though Glen Powell does at absolutely wonderful job of following her lead, bantering away, and even during a memorable scene at an airport, taking the reins, this is Deutch’s movie through and through.

Which is why it works.

Let’s not beat around the bush, the typical audience for rom coms are women. And, since this is written and directed by women, it’s clear they understood the one thing male writers and directors have always missed when making movies like this.

lucy liu pizza GIF by NETFLIX

The reason we watch is not for the “hot guy.” It’s because of the girl that reminds us of who we are – or who we could be.

(Also, in this case, for Lucy Liu’s fierceness and boss looks, but that’s a matter for another article)

Plus the romance. We also watch for the romance, I’m not gonna lie. We want to get swept up in the idea, we want to believe it could actually happen to us too, that it’s not too far fetched to hope and to dream and to be you and find someone who loves you for just that.

But, mostly, we watch to have fun, to feel something, to smile and to forget, or a moment or two, at least, that the world is a dumpster fire. In that regard, more than in any other, Netflix has given us the perfect summer film in Set It Up.

Now, forgive me (or don’t, I don’t really care), if I go watch it one more time. I need a smile or two.

Set It Up is available to stream on Netflix right now.

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