Neflix's 'Set It Up' is what you call an example of a socially responsible rom-com
'Set It Up' is a rom-com that has a simplistic plot but strong, deep characters that are socially aware and representative of the real world.
For those of you who think Netflix’s original movie ‘Set It Up’ is just another rom-com, you are most definitely wrong. Of course, it’s funny and a little corny at time, but it is much more than just that. The importance of this movie from a realistic and socially responsible perspective lies in the details.
Before you read on ahead, note that this article contains several spoilers.
The plot primarily revolves around Harper (Zoey Deutch) and Charlie (Glen Powell), two overworked employees who work unreasonably long hours due to their bosses Kristen (Lucy Liu) and Rick’s (Taye Diggs) demands. Kristen is a famous journalist, and Rick is an investment executive.
Desperate to get their lives back, Harper and Charlie decide to set their bosses up together in the hopes that their brewing romance will cut them some slack.
Though the storyline seems quite simple, the characters are not. They are a lot more aware and deep when compared to other stereotypical romantic comedy characters. For example, Harper comically addresses Charlie’s privilege in an argument the two have over paying for takeout for their bosses. Harper says, "You'll just swoop in with your lacrosse stick and your fraternity connections and you'll keep getting promoted for no reason."
Harper plays the role of an aspiring writer, who works for a sports website, showcasing that the dreams of women are not purely limited to making it big in fashion magazines like Poise. Though Harper is frustrated with Kristen’s demands, she actually idolizes her, for Kristen is a strong woman who is not afraid to call out athletes when their eyes drop from her face and refuses to encourage mansplaining.
The movie also hits the mark when it comes to other forms of representation. For example, Charlie's roommate Duncan (Pete Davidson) is a gay teacher whose sexual orientation in no way influences his character in the stereotypical sense. Not to mention that the cast itself is an extremely diverse one.
Unlike most rom-coms, ‘Set It Up’ does not have the perfect happy ending. Kristen does not end up with Rick, showing that a strong independent woman does not need a man to complete her life. Of course, Charlie and Harper do end up together, however, the ending is atypical in the sense that the two share what they dislike most about each other rather than exchanging sappy sweet nothings.
Having said all that, ‘Set It Up’ is still a rom-com. It is light-hearted and socially responsible at the same time. Maybe it will set an example for future movies to come. It definitely proves that the genre of the cinema does not limit the lessons and messages it can send to an audience.