How to Lose Friends and Alienate People – DVD Review
By Jeff Swindoll Mar 17, 2009, 0:03 GMT
Sidney young (pegg) a small-time aspiring british celebrity journalist who is hired by an upscale magazine after catching the attention of clayton harding (bridges) during an event by creating a ridiculous scene with the help of a wild pig. ...more
Simon Pegg may be snarky, but he can also be charming. His dry wit charms his way through this tale based on the memoir by Toby Young with an all star case. It tends to run out of steam by the end, but it is fun getting there.
Sidney Young (Simon Pegg) runs a failing film magazine in London. He’s trying to crash a party hosted by magazine publisher Clayton Harding (Jeff Bridges). Earlier he had tried to get into a film premier by taking a pig with him and claiming it to be the star of Babe as his way in.
Unfortunately, security saw through his ruse so he has to sneak into the after party to get material for his magazine. Even more unfortunate for him his porker gets loose and trashes Harding’s party. The next day in the chaos of the magazine’s offices, Harding calls Young and instead of suing the hell out of him he hires him and has him come to New York.
Sidney thinks that he’s going to go places in Harding’s empire but finds that he’s low man on the totem pole. He’s placed under the thumb of Lawrence Maddox (Danny Huston) and the two instantly dislike each other. He does like his co-worker Alison Olsen (Kirsten Dunst), but his lust for up and coming star Sophie Maes (Megan Fox).
However, to get to Sophie he has to go through her high powered agent Eleanor Johnson (Gillian Anderson) and she also dislikes Sidney. Sidney starts to realize how to play the game and finds his star on the rise and about to consummate his lust for Sophie, but he might have been after the wrong girl all this time.
In the special features they say that Toby Young’s memoir was really more on the snarky side and adding Pegg to the mix made the character more charming than in the original book. That may be the case since Pegg has a quirky charm, but I’m not familiar with the book.
Young’s memoir deals with his five year stint in the U.S. writing for Vanity Fair magazine. The film does appear to be somewhat fictionalized though it is based on Young’s true life adventures. It moves into romantic comedy and the names of the real life folks have been changed to protect the innocent (or not so innocent).
From what I’ve read about the book, Young never achieved any of the success that Pegg sees in the film though. It’s quite a funny film and owes much to Pegg. It does tend to go into some tried and true plot machinations during the second half of the film. The cast is game and the situations are funny.
Supposedly Young did have a stripper entertain his boss on “Bring your Daughter to work Day” so some of the funny bits have the ring of truth.
How to Lose Friends and Alienate People is presented in anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) and is enhanced for 16x9 televisions.
Special features include two commentaries. One from director Robert Weide and Pegg, and the other is Weide flying solo. There’s also a 20 minute making of and previews for Choke (2 minutes) and Slumdog Millionaire (2 minutes).
How to Lose Friends and Alienate People rides high on the comedic styling of Simon Pegg and does offer some funny moments. If Young’s antics have just an ounce of truth to them I can’t imagine that he didn’t get fired long before his contract was up at Vanity Fair.