How to Lose Friends & Alienate People is Sitcom-Drab


Based on Toby Young’s tome about his spectacular fuck-ups and flameout at Vanity Fair, Robert Weide’s big-screen version is sitcom-drab. Simon Pegg plays Young, reducing the writer—in the book version, a narcissistic twat who aspired to be Cary Grant in His Girl Friday, sans the looks or talent—to nothing more than a barely functioning idiot, a cretin clad in a “Young, Dumb and Full of Come” T-shirt whose loutishness is outmatched only by his inability to function as a human being. Worse, the story’s been turned into a romantic comedy, in which Simon woos his considerably smarter though no less self-absorbed superior, Alison Olsen (Kirsten Dunst), who’s fucking an editor (Danny Huston) who seems to be speaking in four different accents at once, none of them quite of the English variety. It plays like a made-for-CBS redo of The Devil Wears Prada, which was likewise set at a Manhattan glossy, but also happened to contain some of the most insightful observations about the perils of workplace success.