Until now, Lake Bell has graced the silver screen as the best friend, the wife, and the other woman in movies that Rotten Tomatoes doesn't exactly deem "fresh." And although she's been killing it on the smaller screen on shows like Children's Hospital and How to Make it in America, she hasn't reached leading lady status. But it seems like Bell has finally gotten the rom-com role that could put her there. Lake Bell has been cast in Man Up, in which she'll play a woman who finds the right man after being mistaken for someone's blind date while on the way to her parent's anniversary party. Bell will star alongside Simon Pegg.
Bell brings a fresh perspective to this kind of role. In a World..., a movie she recently wrote, directed, and starred in, shows off her rom-com chops. While the main relationship in the film is the father-daughter relationship, the romantic side plot managed to be sweet without being saccharine, and much of that can be attributed to Bell's skills as an actress.
Unlike the Reese Witherspoons and Kate Hudsons of the movie industry, Bell doesn't seem to have any kind of image or brand she wants to uphold. She's not afraid make her character seem human in all the worst ways — to be messy, to be irresponsible, to be bad at talking to other people (not to just be clumsy and get flustered when talking her romantic interest). She's not afraid to get weird or uncomfortable or to let Ken Marino make out with her nose.
Bell is well past her due for a good leading lady role in a major film, and the fact that it's a romantic comedy is all the better. Watching tiny, perfect-looking actresses pretend to act like normal women in romantic comedies always demands a huge suspension of disbelief. Comedians, on the other hand, seem to understand that just being human is inherently hilarious, and thus their "quirks" don't seem to be manufactured or shoehorned in. Hopefully, Man Up will use Bell and Pegg's energy to make this romantic comedy less of the former and more of the latter.