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How to Lose Friends and Alienate People (DQ)


Stars: Simon Pegg, Kirsten Dunst, Jeff Bridges, Gillian Anderson, Danny Huston, Megan Fox, Thandie Newton, Max Minghella, Bill Paterson, Margo Stilley, Janette Scott

Director: Robert Weide

Sidney Young (Pegg) is an incredibly gauche showbiz reporter on an indie London magazine. His attempts at humour are crude and rude and he succeeds in offending everyone he tries to interview with a crass set of blundering questions.

Somehow this bull in a china shop gets a job on a smart New York magazine called Sharps, where he's put in his his place by the editor (a lazily charismatic Bridges), but still succeeds in getting everyone's backs up with his unique blend of galumphing egoism and naff ideas. It's hard to believe this based-on-truth guy has, as the screenplay later tells us, a degree in philosophy. 'You're loathsome,' fellow employee Alison (Dunst), who's having an affir with the odious deputy editor (Huston), tells Sidney. And she's right.

This is the film's problem. It's really hard to like this guy, even when he tries to turn into a 'real person' later on. And the fracas at the film awards that ends the story is cringingly ridiculous. The cast do their best. Anderson is cuttingly effective as a ruthless agent and Miriam Margolyes amusing as Sidney's trenchant landlady.

Pegg smarmily does what the part requires, but this hack truly should have demanded a rewrite. The script he has really does tend to alienate people.

David Quinlan

USA 2008. UK Distributor: Paramount. Colour by deluxe.
107 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 1, Swearing 1.

Review date: 05 Oct 2008