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How to Lose Friends & Alienate People

Release Date: 
10/03/2008
Rated: 
MPAA: R
Star Rating: 
4 out of 10

Directed by: Robert Weide

The Skinny: H2LF&AP, based on former Vanity Fair editor Toby Young's memoirs, stars Simon Pegg as thinly veiled British journo Sidney Young, who does everything in his obnoxious power to screw up his plush job at thinly veiled Sharps magazine under thinly veiled hard-ass editor-in-chief Clayton Harding (Jeff Bridges). Young also runs afoul of a coworker (Kirsten Dunst), a starlet-on-the-rise (Megan Fox), and her way-too-powerful flack (Gillian Anderson).

The Good: Simon Pegg and Jeff Bridges have a great chemistry, which really isn't surprising since both of them have proven comedy chops. Their scenes together are by far the best things H2LF&AP has going for it, because they are the only scenes that come close to capturing the torturous awkwardness of Toby Young's real-life head-butting sessions with Vanity Fair's Graydon Carter. Gillian Anderson shows a bit more life than her X-Files role allows her, and it's nice to see her cut loose a bit. And Megan Fox is only asked to be hot, and she delivers in spades.

The Bad: First of all, this movie confuses slapstick with wit, and its over-the-top, wackity-smackity-doo brand of comedy takes away from the fact that some of this stuff kind of actually happened. In fact, the movie feels compelled to "top" Toby Young's real antics, and in doing so just makes the whole mess distractingly ridiculous (not to mention that forcing a "plot" and a love triangle fails on all counts). And can we finally admit to ourselves that Kirsten Dunst is terrible? Once again, she delivers her lines like she's on a 24-hour morphine drip. She's bland, lifeless, and unlikable.

Slow Down, College Guys: If, after seeing this movie, you feel like you want to change your major to journalism because of the chance that you, too, could interview a starlet on the rise and potentially sleep with her, let us throw some nice ice-cold reality on that fire. Never happens. Nor will working for a magazine ever get you a fancy NYC apartment.

Theater, DVD, or TNT in Five Years? It's a rental, and the perfect compromise on those "you owe me a romantic comedy" nights with your girlfriend. Can Nights in Rodanthe claim to show chicks with dicks? We think not.