October 4, 2008

Smug Grin Loses Friends and Alienates People

This satire on the media industry follows an aspiring scribe whose head is turned by the celebrities he's supposed to despise.

At first, Sidney Young refuses to churn out sycophantic puff pieces he's ordered to by his editors.

But it's not long before he 'sells his soul to the media devil', becoming the mirror reflection of the very fame-hungry zombies he used to lampoon with such venom.

Regrettably, screenwriter Peter Straughan files down all of the barbs in the book this film is based on, shoehorning the characters into a generic romantic comedy, replete with outlandish set- pieces.

The death of a pet Chihuahua, which chases after a ball and leaps headfirst into a closed window, is a slapstick centre-piece, bookended by projectile vomiting and a brawl at an awards ceremony.

Actor Simon Pegg is a most dislikable anti-hero.

He plays Sidney Young, snide editor of Post Modern Review, a sardonic rebuke to celebrity culture cobbled together by a ragtag staff from offices above a London kebab shop.

Writing primarily for his own amusement, Sidney is stunned when a renowned magazine editor offers him a correspondent's post on New York lifestyle bible Sharps.

But Sidney realises his finely-honed sarcasm doesn't wash with the locals.

If you want to lose friends and alienate people, then buy them a ticket to Weide's film. Pegg grates from the first smug grin.

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