Set It Up: is this the return of rom-coms?


Lauryn Lin, Contributor

Netflix’s summer release Set It Up is being claimed as the return of those feel-good romantic comedies we love so much. The all-too-familiar feel of being giddy over fictional characters is what grabs our attention. Director Claire Scanlon (whose works include Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) knows exactly how to charm the audience with a plot that reminds us of classics like 10 Things I Hate About You or Clueless, yet still has a fresh story line that fits the scene of 20-something-years-old of today.

The movie follows assistants Harper (Zoey Deutch) and Charlie (Glen Powell), who have their lives consumed with helping their workaholic bosses. Harper works for sports editor Kirsten (Lucy Liu) in hopes of pursuing her own writer dreams, but uses her demanding job as an excuse not to follow them. Charlie, who believes he will be promoted soon, works under successful businessman Rick (Taye Diggs). After meeting in the lobby, the pair quickly comes to the solution that setting up Kirsten and Rick would result in more free time for them. When Kirsten and Rick begin dating, it seems like all is well until Harper and Charlie realize that they have to work at keeping the two together. This brings our assistants closer and to the actual set up that the title refers to. The movie is predictable in the sense that the audience knew the actual main couple was Harper and Charlie, but it still has you on your toes to see how they end up together.

Zoey Deutch and Glen Powell’s performances are incredible; their chemistry is what everyone wants to have. Deutch never fails to impress me ever since I first saw her in The Suite Life on Deck. The two seem like they are meant to be together–this is what builds the enemies-to-lovers cliche. And we love it. Lucy Liu, amazing as always, intrigues her audience this time with her role of the career woman and is just an all-around entertaining actress. Taye Diggs, known for his roles in the Broadway musicals Chicago and Rent, took on a stunning change from his usual theater work. Diggs is a decorated actor, which is demonstrated in Set It Up.

Set It Up touches upon some contemporary aspects such as the woman married to her career and the young aspiring millennial. These tropes are shown in a way that is dynamic; the movie tells us that these characters can and should be written with more depth. The casting of Lucy Liu and Taye Diggs in itself is a push for more diversity in films. The production of movies such as Love, Simon; Black Panther; Coco; and many more have been monumental in the movement for people of color in Hollywood. Movies that tell different stories allow us to acknowledge our backgrounds and encourage us not to be ashamed of them. Some may say that representation isn’t important, but I see it as leading us into a future of acceptance and love.

With movies like To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and Crazy Rich Asians thriving right now, Set It Up truly did mark the start of a romcom renaissance. So instead of browsing through your Netflix feed for hours on end, watch Set It Up because it’ll give you exactly what you want: 105 minutes of pure entertainment watching two people go from bickering to falling in love.