Monday, 6 October 2008

How to Lose Friends and Alienate People (2008)

Let's get this straight, I went to see this out of respect and reverence to the amazingly talented and likeable Simon Pegg. It's adapted from Toby Young's book of the same name and concerns a star-fucker who finds himself inside the glittery castle, yet unable to play the game, learn the hierarchy and stop his inherent nastiness from getting in the way of his career-gazing need to rub shoulders with the young and famous. He turns up to work at his new job at Vanity Fair-esque 'Sharps Magazine' wearing a t-shirt that says 'Young Dumb and Full of Come', doesn't understand that Americans don't really get English humour, pulls a transsexual on his first night and upsets Kirsten Dunst, who luck would have it works for the same magazine as thinks he's obnoxious.

The problem with this is that if they kept the protagonist the same as Toby Young, it would not be a film worth watching. Toby Young's character (himself) in the book is an arrogant, obnoxious fuckwit who would climb over his mum's raped carcass to stand next to Tom Cruise and shine in his aura. So they cast Simon Pegg, incredibly likeable and full of charisma and personality, and they make the character more likeable by the fact that his ability to rub everyone up the wrong way is down to his self-important pomposity and belief he is doing the good journalistic work of the man. He thinks he is a man of the people, wanting to shown the Americans their inherent hypocrisy, while at the same time, trying to pull the hottest girl in town, the impossibly beautiful Megan Fox. Gillian Anderson, swoonsome as Scully was, plays a horrendous publicist, smouldering in every scene. Kirsten Dunst plays Pegg's moral spirit guide that he eventually romances once he gets over himself.

This is pretty mediocre stuff, saved by Pegg and Scully. The plucked strings that alert you to physical comedy slapstick moments are too omniscient in the soundtrack, the glitzy emptiness of the world is never really explored and it's never really realised despite being a cliched world showcased in Zoolander, Pret-a-Porter and Ugly betty. This is yet another reason why Simon Pegg needs better scripts, needs to be playing the roles that Seth Rogen does. He's doing so well in America and I hope we don't lose him and Edgar Wright to the Yanks, but the problem with this lies in the fact that the original subject matter is so distressingly ugly, it's hard to cover this up. It's directed by Robert Weide, veteran of Curb Your Enthusiasm and as this is so middle-of-the-road, you wonder why he bothered.

Pegg's video diary for the Guardian:

1 comment:

Cardigan Unlimited said...
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