Set It Up (2018) – Review

Set It Up is now streaming on Netflix.

By Greg Wheeler

Set It Up is a charming romantic comedy that checks all the boxes with its predictable story and various emotional ups and downs, but never quite innovates enough to push beyond the conventions of this genre. Ultimately, this makes Set It Up too formulaic to be remembered for years to come and feels more like an enjoyable, fleeting flick rather than one with real lasting appeal. Still, Set It Up does offer a few amusing scenes and there’s a nice dramatic climax here too making it one of the better rom coms to be released of late.

The story begins with two parallel storylines that quickly converge together. Overworked personal assistant Harper (Zoey Deutch) to her narcissistic boss Kirsten (Lucy Liu) has a chance encounter with personal assistant Charlie (Glen Powell) and his boss Rick (Taye Diggs). After lamenting about their torrid time, they decide to try and make their lives easier by setting their bosses up together. As the young assistants begin to “parent trap” their bosses, Harper and Charlie slowly begin to have feelings for each other and what ensues is a story that sees them learn to stand up for themselves against their aggressive, bullish bosses.

For the most part, Set It Up does a good job playing out as a conventional romantic comedy with touches of well placed humour and drama throughout. There’s rarely a moment that Set It Up feels contrived but despite the solid work done tonally, the film does play out in a very predictable manner, making this more formulaic than it perhaps should be. Expect betrayals, misunderstandings, romantic montages and all the usual tropes you’d expect in this genre making for an ending spelt out long before the credits roll.

With this film geared toward the teen market, the comedy will inevitably come across as contrived and over exaggerated for anyone over 18. Expect plenty of jokes about sex and over the top slapstick to grace large portions of this one. Thankfully, the slowly evolving romance between Charlie and Harper is believably written for the most part and the smart inclusion of some genuinely touching moments helps to give this one a much needed added dimension.

Set It Up is a very conventional, formulaic romantic comedy that nails all the usual beats you’d expect from a film like this while never doing anything to help it really stand out. Some of the acting is questionable at times and the over the top, exaggerated comedy may well put some off from watching this one. Still, the movie does a good job appealing to its target audience, even if the lack of innovation ultimately hurts Set It Up’s lasting appeal.

I give Set It Up a B-.

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