"How to Lose Friends & Alienate People"
Directed by Robert B. Weide.
Written by Peter Straughan. Based on the book by Toby
Starring Simon Pegg, Kirsten Dunst, Megan Fox and Jeff Bridges.
Release Year: 2008
Review Date: 10/1/08
Even though it's got a shitty title, the new comedy "How to Lose
Friends & Alienate People" (HTLFAP) delivers the laughs in spades
about 90% of the time, and even as it turns romantic, it doesn't
forget that it is generally a good mix of screwball and witty
That's because star Simon Pegg leaves his mark again in what
should be his biggest film yet here in the U.S.; the star of imports
"Shaun of the Dead" and the truly hilarious
"Hot Fuzz" tries for a second time to
win an audience here (you don't remember "Run Fatboy Run"?
Neither does the rest of America) and does a better job thanks to a
great production. Pegg stars as British writer Sidney Young, a
man running his own publicity rag in England when he gets a call
from a major New York City magazine editor (Jeff Bridges) to write
for the I Spy division of the magazine...and Sidney jumps at the
chance. Unfortunately for everyone involved, Simon is a bit of
an asshole, so between screwing up nearly every task at the magazine
and offending everyone he interviews, he also finds time to pester
another woman on the I Spy team, Alison (Kirsten Dunst), as well as
attempt to get in the pants of movie star Sophie Maes (Megan Fox),
who is strangely attracted to him as well.
The film has a great mix of laughs throughout nearly the entire
running time, save for maybe the last 15 minutes. You've got
three or four legit bellywhoppers, a wide array of Good Laughs, some
chuckles, and the uncomfortable "Should I Be Laughing Right Now"
moments to mix in as well. Pegg is hilarious, but the film
gets good comedy out of Bridges, Dunst and Fox; even the lady that
plays the super at Sidney's building gets a couple of laughs.
Add in some great sight gags--my favorite scene involves no dialogue
at all, when Sidney is trying to walk down a hallway to avoid
contact with the magazine owner's wife--and some yuk/nasty potty
humor, and as comedy goes, I was very impressed with the variety.
The film falls victim to a horrific number of romantic comedy
clichés late in the running time (can you say, Girl Wants Guy Back
When Guy Has New Girl "Just Getting Dressed" in Bedroom?), and
naturally, the film takes advantage of Brit-in-America moments
thanks to Pegg being essentially the only Englishman in the movie.
But, those are minor quarrels; in general, "HTLFAP" is pretty solid,
and I'm glad I got to see it for free earlier this week.
Rating: $9.50 Show
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Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard