Romantic comedies don’t sell as many theatre tickets as they used to a decade ago, but if Set It Up is any indication, Netflix is their future. Enjoying something on the streaming giant has been an unfamiliar feeling this year, but with 90% on Rotten Tomatoes, Set It Up is the site’s highest-rated original film of the year so far. It’s an enjoyable watch for a genre that has had some great hits, and equally as many misses, but director Claire Scanlon’s film is funny and charming in the way that a good rom-com should be.
The film’s upbeat soundtrack sets its tone perfectly. Especially, “Nowhere to Run” by Martha and the Vandellas that plays during the #relatable opening montage of daily stresses. The sequence also dabbles in physical comedy that can also be seen in the rest of the film, with various assistants rushing around to complete the most ridiculous tasks for their overbearing bosses, everything from breaking up with someone on their behalf to taking a pee sample to their doctor. The film is a mix of a classic rom-com with a modern, millennial twist on corporate culture and self-empowerment as it follows two overworked assistants struggling to stay sane under the authority of their bosses. After a meet involving fighting over their bosses’ lunch, both Harper (Zoey Deutch) and Charlie (Glen Powell) decide that the best way to relieve the stress in their lives is by setting up their bosses with each other. Harper’s Miranda Priestly-esque sports reporter boss Kirsten (Lucy Liu) and Charlie’s demanding investment banker employer Rick (Taye Diggs) hit it off, at first, but as most films of the genre do, it zooms towards a conclusion that the film’s cupids didn’t predict.
The chemistry between Zoey Deutch and Glen Powell is adorable as their characters plot how to successfully pull off their scheme while trying to do whatever they can to avoid their inevitable romance. But it’s Lucy Liu that steals the show as the icy Kirsten, with Taye Diggs delivering his own great physical comedy. Some TV comedy regulars like Tituss Burgess and Pete Davidson also add their own charm to the story. The film is full of dialogue with a quirky frankness and the expected cliches – like getting stuck in an elevator or rushing to the airport. Claire Scanlon’s entry to the Netflix original list is a rom-com that doesn’t transcend the brand, but it knows what it wants and is content to stay on it.
Set It Up’s visual representation of assistant horror stories and New York City romance is a fun start to the summer for couples who want to take their date nights in.