Film & TV

How to Lose Friends and Alienate People (15)

Director: Robert Weide
Cast: Simon Pegg, Kirsten Dunst, Jeff Bridges, Danny Huston, Gillian Anderson, Megan Fox

Adapted from the memoirs of Toby Young, the film charts the rise and rise of Sidney Young (Pegg), an editor of the Postmodern Review, who yearns and desires to live a life amongst the rich and famous. This wish is granted when the editor of Sharps Magazine, standing in for Vanity Fair, Clayton Harding (Bridges) invites Sidney to work in New York. But as the way with these movie dreams all does not go to plan as Young manages to suitably annoy all those around him (well, it would be a bloody misleading title if he didn’t!).

 

Toby Young and Simon Pegg at the UK Premiere
Toby Young and Simon Pegg at the UK Premiere

The film is in essence a more male friendly Devil Wears Prada where the Anne Hathaway character is more comfortable hiring Transvestite strippers and accidently killing innocent animals (You wouldn’t find that risky business occurring in the Impact office!) than giving credible time to the publication.

The film has some great comedic set pieces, one of which involves a tongue in cheek faux trailer, starring up-and-coming actress Megan Fox as Sophie Maes (also an up-and-coming actress), for a Mother Teresa Biopic entitled ‘Teresa: The making of a Saint’ with husky voice over man declaring “In a world where passion is forbidden and belief is divine one woman achieved everything by helping those who had nothing” and cracking Star Wars/Catholicism crossover references with “The faith is strong in this one”. The main laughs lie in the awkward situations that Young finds himself in where one ends up cringing more than once before the end credits.

Simon Pegg is dependable as always to deliver some great lines of comedy and is fast becoming a believable ‘everyman’ in British films (I for one am hopeful that the reign of Hugh Grant may finally be over). Kirsten Dunst is sweet as Young’s love interest but not charming enough to pull off a role that she seems to do so well in the Spiderman franchise. By far the breakout stars of the film are Jeff Bridges and Megan Fox. Bridges has some of the best lines in the film and shares some of the funniest scenes with Pegg. Fox meanwhile is beginning to show that she is more than just a pretty face as she holds her own against an impressive cast.

For a film which marks the collaboration between Simon Pegg and director Robert Weide (Curb Your Enthusiasm) two of the most celebrated figures in modern comedy, the film never quite reaches a laugh a minute pacing. The film could have benefitted much more by taking an approach similar to that used on Curb Your Enthusiasm as the material naturally lends itself to the format of the programme. The end product however seems to provide a happy medium where both actor and director show glimpses of what they are both renowned for, obscure film references and extremely absurd moments that continue to extrapolate to a point where you barely look at the screen from your cringe stricken face!

James Warren

How to Lose Friends and Alienate People is released on the 3rd of October

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