How to Lose Friends & Alienate People
Directed by: Robert B. Weide
Cast: Simon Pegg, Kirsten Dunst, Jeff Bridges, Megan Fox, Danny Huston, Gillian Anderson
Time: 1 hr 50 mins
Plot: A British entertainment journalist (Pegg) struggles to fit in at a high-profile magazine in New York. The film is based on Toby Young’s memoir “How to Lose Friends & Alienate People.”
Who’s It For? There’s a node to A Dolce Vita but otherwise it’s a pretty basic comedy with most of the laughs hoping to come from idiocy.
Expectations: Weide is mostly known for directing “Curb Your Enthusiasm” which has great bite to it and Pegg has a pretty strong record so far, so I was down for this celebrity journalist tale.
Simon Pegg as Sydney Young: The weight of the film is on his shoulders. Seems like he would wear that weight well. But look under “expectations.” I said pretty strong. Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz isn’t his only work. Run Fatboy Run couldn’t have been a bigger disappointment. Sydney doesn’t fit in and doesn’t seem to be a good journalist. He wants to write a snarky piece on a young director and it’s not even clear if he’s even seen his work. And he doesn’t come across as “cutting edge” if he wants to do a profile on an aging Hollywood actress.
Kirsten Dunst as Alison Olsen: Alison proves she has poor choice in men, which I guess is enough of a reason for her to be charmed by the obscene Sydney, and then as time passes (month? years? no clue) she still holds a place for him in her heart. Not creative.
Jeff Bridges as Clayton Harding: Could have used more Clayton, if for nothing else that amazing head of hair that Bridges pulls off. I normally can’t stand the long hair, but Bridges proves once again I will like every decision he makes. And am I the only one who is annoyed that the White Russians drink wasn’t a nod to The Big Lebowski.
Megan Fox as Sophie Maes: Fox attempts to channel her inner Lohan or Hilton and she almost pulls it off with her comment about getting her own logo. One of the best scenes of the film is when she chooses to walk through the pool at a crowded party. It showcases the manipulation of stardom quite well.
Danny Huston as Lawrence Maddox: Is there some rule that Huston can’t play a likable character? He’s fully hated again as Lawrence, the superior who has his clutches in everyone who Sidney wants.
Whenever Sydney talks in film, and fawns over celebrities, the film works. But unfortunately they don’t push that far enough. Instead we get a typical relationship film with Sydney/Alison/Lawrence. By the way, in the real world Pegg and Dunst are separated by a 12 year age difference.
Sights & Sounds: That appears to be Brian Austin Green next to Fox at a party, which is amusing because they are no longer together. Thandie Newton plays herself and hopefully that will be the last time we see her flirting with Pegg on the big screen (doesn’t add up). Also, why does a billboard of Sophie suddenly come to life even though it doesn’t serve a higher purpose?
This is not an insightful story inside the world of fame and journalistic coverage. It’s silly, and frankly, not very funny. Sydney is a journalist who wants to be surrounded by fame, but constantly acts like he doesn’t need to play the game. Unfortunately, the film never makes the case for him to be at a powerful magazine in the first place. So we get 2/3rds of him not fitting in, followed by 1/3 of him selling out. Sound like fun? The humor is based on a transsexual and killing a dog. That’s not enough, especially when there was all of Celebridum to make fun of.