Saturday, October 04, 2008

HOW TO LOSE FRIENDS AND ALIENATE PEOPLE - amiable enough, but pulls its punches

HOW TO LOSE FRIENDS AND ALIENATE PEOPLE is a conventional romantic comedy in which a hapless bloke overlooks the small-town girl who will make him happy in his quest to shag a Hollywood star until the mandatory final reel emotional epiphany. Simon Pegg plays the bloke - and is amiable enough even when he's being a total arse. After all, which Joe Everyman wouldn't temporarily loose his head when offered VIP status and It-Girls a-go-go? Megan Fox (TRANSFORMERS) has a thankless role as the aforementioned It Girl and Kirsten Dunst also has a thankless role as the "real girl".

In fact, the script feels altogether under-written, and rather pulls its punches. Underneath all the rom-com guff we're meant to have a stinging indictment of the shallow materialism and corrupt back-scratching of the Hollywood media machine. What we get instead are a few pithy lines from Danny Huston and Gillian Anderson as the journalist and PR woman respectively. But the movie seems to have about as much interest in pushing this critique as Jeff Bridges has in his performance as the magazine editor.

So, all in all, this movie slips down easily enough, but it's pretty thin fair.

HOW TO LOSE FRIENDS AND ALIENATE PEOPLE played, improbably, Cannes 2008, and opened this weekend in the US, UK and Poland. It opens next weekend in Belgium and Russian and opens on October 16th in South Korea and on October 23rd in Australia. It opens in November in Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany.

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