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How to Lose Friends and Alienate People

Directed by Robert B. Weide (MGM)



A fictionalization of Toby Young's memoir, about the writer's time working at Vanity Fair for the enigmatic Graydon Carter, should be razor-sharp, considering director Robert B. Weide also worked on Curb Your Enthusiasm. Physically, Simon Pegg is spot-on as Young---both are fair-haired, balding Brits. But anyone who's read Young's books knows that man is a real prat, and Pegg, even at his most obnoxious (Run Fatboy Run), is too cute and daft to be hated.

Perhaps that's why screenwriter Peter Straughan and Weide decided to squeeze all of the venom and smarts out of Young's memoir and turn this story into a standard tale of romance between brash young journalist Sidney Young (Pegg) and his novel-writing co-worker Alison (Kirsten Dunst). They share gossip-column duties on Sharp, a thinly disguised VF (readers will recognize the fonts), helmed by Clayton Harding (Jeff Bridges), sporting Carter's collar-grazing grey locks. There's never a compelling power struggle like in The Devil Wears Prada---Clayton is just a weird, ghostly presence with a few good quips.

Considering the source material was born in a world of journalism, celebrity and high society, this movie never reaches its satirical potential. Sue Carter Flinn

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