My movie review today is about the new comedy starring Simon Pegg - How to Lose Friends & Alienate People. You will remember Simon Pegg from Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. You will probably not remember him being funny in either of those films, which is understandable. For about the first hour of How to Lose Friends & Alienate People, he had me fooled. Along side Simon Pegg is the super fucking hot Megan Fox (who cannot really act worth a damn, but who gives a shit anyhow), Kirsten Dunst, and god himself, Jeff Bridges. To give you an idea of how much I enjoy seeing Jeff Bridges in a film - I would gladly pay $12 to watch him jerk off for 4 minutes, and then sleep for an hour and a half. Enough about me...
The movie starts off with a voice-over from Simon Pegg, explaining that he owns "The Post Modern Review," which is a pop-culture magazine that tells it like it is. Similar to BehindtheHype.com, but we are much much funnier. Much funnier. His character aspires to make it to the big time as a Hollywood writer, and the big time (in the context of the film) is writing for Sharp's Magazine. Sharp's Magazine is run by Jeff Bridges, who Simon Pegg looks up to because he used to run a magazine that did not believe in writing puff pieces - if a celebrity needed to be called out, they would be. We soon figure out that Sharp's Magazine does not follow in a similar tradition, and certain moral issues arise as a consequence.
After Pegg crashes a Sharp's Magazine party, and causing all kinds of havoc, Jeff Bridges decides he wants to hire Pegg, and has him flown out to New York to start working for him. Bridges' character is a very no-nonsense type of boss, which conflicts with Pegg's character, who is a very pro-nonsense type of fellow. The title of the film is pretty accurate to Pegg's character, as literally everyone he comes into contact with hates him right off-the-bat (save a really hot tranny, whose cock-n-balls make an appearance later in the film). Kirsten Dunst is in the film to somewhat get Simon acclimated at Sharp's Magazine, and they end up falling for each other. On Pegg's first day of work, he goes into the office with a t-shirt that reads "Young, Dumb And Full of Come".
Megan Fox is a hot Hollywood actress (what a stretch!), who is trying to gain fame. Her press agent, who is "in bed" with Sharp's Magazine, is played by Gillian Anderson (who is not looking too good now that she hit the big 4-0). The naughty secret is that all of Gillian's clients get positive stories written about them (puff pieces), in exchange for her supplying Sharp's Magazine with new exclusive content. Her relationship to the magazine is where inner conflict builds for Pegg's character. Does he stick by his morals, or does he cave to make it big?
At first, Pegg was standing up for what he believed in. He was gungho about telling it like it is, which meant hardly anything he wrote actually got published. Finally, after some thorough pestering, Jeff Bridges gives Pegg the OK to write a piece digging into one of Gillian's clients (director, Vincent Lepak). My favorite exchange was after the article was submitted (and rejected) to Bridges. Bridges essentially laid down the law, and explained to Pegg that in order for Sharp's Magazine to continue being a profitable business, they had to "play ball" with Hollywood. This led to a categorial shift in the way Pegg took to writing. If he wanted to make it big, he would have to bite his tongue, and take it up the ass (figuratively, of course). And he did.
At about this time is when the movie stopped being funny, and started being extremely sappy. For a solid 30 - 45 minutes, we see Pegg transform from a spirited writer, to a worthless hack. One thing leads to another and he keeps moving up the Sharp's Magazine corporate chain. A huge piece on Megan Fox really propells his writing career to the top. There is some underlying fluff between Pegg and Dunst, which really did not do it for me at all.
There are plenty of funny moments in the film, but that just about stops completely with 30 minutes to go. One big funny scene near the very end is the only memorable part of the second half of the film. So if you are OK with an hour of funny, and 45 minutes of fluff, then How to Lose Friends & Alienate People is the film for you. If, however, you like your comedies like you like your Asian hookers (cheap and always satisfying), then save your money and watch Office Space on DVD again. The film was not terrible, it just was not funny enough in the first half to nearly forgo any humor in the second half.