Set It Up was one of my favorite movies of 2018. The premise might not be overly original, but the writing and chemistry between the two leads make the rom-com feel like it’s triggered a rejuvenation of the genre. There are genuine laughs in Set It Up and some naughty humor that toes the line quite perfectly between hilariously raunchy and just plain over-the-top raunchy.
Zoey Deutch and Glen Powell have some incredible chemistry, and you see it almost from the very first scene they share together. There is no insta-romance or quick attraction between Harper and Charlie. Their ‘meet cute’ is the two of them fighting over who will get the lone take-out meal during a late night at work to take back to their demanding, hungry bosses. From there the relationship shifts to the two of them plotting to set up their bosses, and in the process, they become friends, and from there… well, then comes the pizza scene. Oh, the pizza scene. If I created a list of my top ten rom-com moments, you would most definitely read about the pizza scene.
Another plus is the development of the secondary characters. Lucy Liu is a badass woman, strong and unapologetic, but plays that yearning to be a bit softer with emotional nuance. Taye Diggs is gorgeous and charming with just the right amount of smarminess that you’re almost willing to forgive… almost…okay, not really, since he’s a bit of a jerk!.
They’re both demanding and stubborn, caught up in their own personal and professional worlds that one might think they’re completely oblivious to the plights of their overworked assistants. Thankfully Set It Up doesn’t stick to the one-dimensional stereotype of ‘workaholic boss’, and they give Kirsten and Rick plenty of moments where their personalities and chemistry are able to shine through.
Set It Up plays the rom-com tropes to a T but it works. It works so well. Those of us who watch these movies are well aware of how most of them will end, but the really special ones will have us feeling the happy endings right to our core. Set It Up is one of those movies.