Throughout my entire life as a person with red hair, I’ve always struggled to find other people with red hair to look up to. I mean there’s Danny Bonaduce, the kid with the mullet from Salute Your Shorts, and David Caruso. Not exactly a plethora of upstanding citizens whose examples I can emulate.
But then, just a few short years ago, Simon Pegg came on the radar. Since he’s a double-threat (a ginger and an Englishman), I immediately took notice. Movies like Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz firmly established him and his writing/acting partners Nick Frost and Edgar Wright as having a voice in the world of comedy. Consequently, each movie Pegg has appeared in since 2007’s Hot Fuzz (all three of them) have been compared to Shaun and Fuzz. And have looked bad in that comparison.
So, upon seeing an early trailer for How to Lose Friends and Alienate people, I was excited. I mean, Simon Pegg and Jeff Bridges. What’s not to love? However, as I walked out of the movie and into the light of day, I couldn’t help but be disappointed.
Friends is based on the memoir by Toby Young. The movie changes his name to Sidney (to sound more English?) and tells the story of how he got from being a kid watching celebrities on TV in England to hanging out with them to get an interview on behalf of one of the most prestigious magazines in the world (Sharps in the movie, Vanity Fair in real life). The premise is interesting enough, but the execution is iffy at best.
Pegg is his usual self. Clever quips delivered in an English accent (that probably makes them sound more clever), great slapstick comedy sensibilities, and just the right amount of clumsy charm. For the first time in a while, Kirsten Dunst returns to being somewhat sweet and charming. Jeff Bridges shows up to growl a bit as the magazine’s editor. And Megan Fox… Oh, Megan Fox. Let’s just say that it’s pretty clear no one is hiring her for her acting talents.
But here’s where the movie derails for me: While it does present a pretty good picture of what’s it’s like to want something and obtain it only to find it ultimately unfulfilling, it does so without really showing why. Sidney has always wanted to be a celebrity reporter, but once he finally arrives, he very quickly decides that he doesn’t really want it. And without any real explanation.
Between sudden plot changes, all kinds of unnecessary cursing and one very, very, gross part, this movie is most definitely not worth the price of admission.
Save your money, go to blockbuster and rent Hot Fuzz.
Josh Treece, NOT Josh Pease, is a Jr. High volunteer at his church. When he’s not seeing movies, he’s looking for a red headed role model.