I often log onto Netflix looking to settle into a piece of pop culture that will put me at ease, a soothing brain cleanse after a long day. That's why the new Netflix movie Set It Up is so darn exciting. It's not perfect, certainly, but it's an emotional support blanket of a film, an old-fashioned rom-com led by stars with palpitating chemistry. I see myself putting it on every so often, scanning to hit my favorite scenes. (Or, rather, one scene in particular -- more on that later.)
Zoey Deutch and Glen Powell are Harper and Charlie, the eventual lovebirds. She's toiling away as an assistant to Lucy Liu's Kirsten, a hard-hitting sports reporter now running her own website. He's in the trenches as the right-hand man to Taye Diggs' venture capitalist Rick. They meet while clashing over a late night dinner order, but antagonism fades into alliance when they bond over their demanding employers. They hash out a scheme to make their lives a little bit easier: They'll surreptitiously convince their bosses to bone. Harper thinks it's a Cyrano situation; Charlie imagines it more along the lines of Nancy Meyers' Parent Trap remake vibes. It doesn't really count as a spoiler to say that the underlings, of course, are destined to find real love along the way with each other, and, oh gosh, it's tons of fun to watch it happen.
That's in large part credit to Deutch and Powell, two actors who have been on my radar since Richard Linklater's 2016 college baseball hangout comedy Everybody Wants Some!! They weren't love interests in that movie, but they were both standouts thanks to their natural effervescence on screen. Pairing them in Set It Up makes perfect sense. Both Harper and Charlie are Type-A strivers willing to put themselves through the ringer to achieve their goals. Still, neither Deutch nor Powell fall prey to the clichés that come along with their archetypes, shading their performances with warmth and recognizable millennial career anxiety.