New on DVD: How to Lose Friends and Alienate People

The title may sound familiar because it is the same as the memoir by British journalist Toby Young; but this is not exactly the book in pictures.

Sidney Young (Simon Pegg) is a disillusioned intellectual who both adores and despises the world of celebrity. He’s the editor of a magazine that pokes fun at the stars; but a stunt involving a pig and a celeb affair leads to a job in New York with an upscale magazine run by Clayton Harding (Jeff Bridges), a former rebel himself. Warned he must make a good impression to be successful, Sidney instead manages to annoy everyone. However, his career is saved by a demeaning act and the affection of rising starlet Sophie Maes (Megan Fox).

To make an audience care about an irritating character, two things must occur: the actor portraying said personality must be charming and there must be a redeeming love story. Luckily, filmmakers realized this as well. Pegg can say anything yet appear playful and likeable, while anyone else would radiate a need to be slapped (not that he avoids that destiny entirely either). His love interest is the sugary Kirsten Dunst, which definitely helps his case because if she can love him, why can’t we?

The problem with taking a story that spanned five years and boiling it down to less than two hours is a feeling of brevity. Montages and establishing shots attempt to fill in the gaps, but they’re still fairly wide. It’s obvious a lot must have occurred to get Sidney from one status level to the next, but those things are lost to film audiences.

The DVD bonus features include two audio commentaries: one with feature debut director Robert Weide (Curb Your Enthusiasm) and the other with Weide and Pegg. They’re pretty basic and the commentary with Pegg is not as funny as one would have expected. Also, they continuously mention deleted scenes and a gag reel that are not included in this release. “Sharp Interviews” features answers by the director, cast and Toby to intertitled questions. The recycled case is a nice touch though.

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