Rated R. Click here to view the trailer.
How to Lose Friends and Alienate People could win an award for truth in advertising. It certainly delivers on everything it promises in the title.
Sidney Young is a rabble rousing journalist who leaves his London-based tabloid for a job at the ultra-hip, ultra-exclusive Sharps Magazine (based on Vanity Fair). Sharps editor, Clayton Harding (played with relish by Jeff Bridges), is a maverick in the publishing world and puts up with Sidney’s antics, which include alienating the publicists of the very celebrities he’s paid to cover, inviting a C-list celebrity pig to a party and bringing a transvestite stripper to the office. On Bring Your Daughter to Work Day (“I didn’t know! We don’t have BYDTW Day in England!”).
The only person who even begins to appreciate Young and his eccentricities is his immediate editor, Alison (Kirsten Dunst). This is surprising since Young is such a wholly unlikeable bloke. Alison and Sidney develop a shaky friendship (based on La Dolce Vita), but that is derailed when Sidney runs off to pursue the Hollywood sex kitten dujour, Sophie Maes (Megan Fox).
Simon is normally a very funny man, but he’s such an inexplicable jerk in this movie that he ruins whatever comedic capital he had. Kristen Dunst is forgettable as are the numerous cameos by various movie stars who must have had nothing better to do that day. Megan Fox’s character is a Paris Hilton-like, Chihuahua-toting attention junkie, but I can’t tell if it’s because she’s a great actress or if she isn’t acting at all.
The Dolce Vita scenes are sweet and fun. They’re one of the few redeeming qualities of this movie. Another is Young’s attitude toward journalism. He’s isn’t afraid to piss off his interview subjects and works hard to come up with new and interesting angles and questions. Watching him call an art gallery to get caption information is pretty entertaining. The third is Jeff Bridges. His voice talent alone is worth the price of admission. A final redeeming factor is that this movie introduced me to MGMT’s Time to Pretend.
Based on the book by British alienation specialist Toby Young. The real Mr. Young, as well as Pegg’s version, is the arrogant prick to end all arrogant pricks, with just an ounce charm. He might be fun at an office Christmas party, but only for a few minutes before the trannies and farm animals show up. Mostly it loses viewers alienates movie-goers.