I could relate to Sidney Young (Simon Pegg). I do. A snarky, cynical, and sarcastic self-centered celebrity underground journalist who ever adhere to his values and ideas to a point where everything else is – career, money – came in second. This is at least visible on one occasion when Sidney refused to do an article about a young, up-rising, and “talented” director and subsequently passed an opportunity in rising up the ladder because he refused to do a fixed article. What he wishes to do is simply, writing something he likes, something he thinks as the truth, no matter how many souls getting a nudge and grudge along his way.
Inspired by true events, Sidney Young started in England where he self-published a snarky celebrity magazine from his apartment. His nights included mostly of trying to sneak or break into awards or after-parties, thrown out by security, or getting photographed while hand-locked by Clint Eastwood. This attitude of his quickly gained him a notorious reputation among pushers, EOs and celebrities alike. This reputation however, attracted one Clayton Harding (Jeff Bridges) who sees his young, fiery and idealistic journalist he once was in Sidney. Harding was the Chief-Editor of Sharp, one of the top celebrity magazine in the country and he would like to try one Sidney Young.
Alas, what had started as a passable but at least interesting sarcasm toward the press industry turns into a rom-com halfway through and this shift of direction was rather confusing for me because I felt that the film was ever reluctant to go both ways and thus, it eventually ended rather awkward.
Sidney Young is what would I called as a “too big a fish in a small pond.” When he was flew to New York to start his day as a proper “overground” (as oppose to his underground usual ways) journalist, he soon met barriers made of solid “proper-ness” and cemented by “capitalists” and he decides to break through it full-force with his own values and ideals. Soon, he found himself losing friends and alienated people. His only friend – if you could call it a friend – was Alison Olsen (Kirsten Dunst), an aspiring writer who has abandoned her own values and relinquished to a mundane task of captioning photos. First half of the film, when it still revolves around how Sidney tries to break the walls were entertaining, to say the least (check out his reasoning behind why “Con-Air” is the best film of all-time) and luscious Megan Fox presence as Sophie Maes, an uprising actress whose assets are obviously only a skin deep, as Sidney’s lust object kept these eyes easy.
I thought Kirsten Dunst is gorgeous in here (especially so in the first half of the film). I was actually surprised. Well, I guess she was always better if she plays a #2 girl. However, when she has a full attention to the spotlight as the film shifts toward a rom-com, she reverts back to her usual Mary-Jane stuffs which me no likey. Jeff Bridges and Gillian Anderson are effective in their limited screen time – I could dig Jeff Bridges being effective, he’s after all my version of one of the most underrated working actor today, but Gillian Anderson being effective? That’s new. And it’s surprising, to say the least -, and Simon Pegg, well, he always has this likeable charisma and doesn’t really mind to act as an ass which is why he was able to keep this film through and through although that end scene with Kirsten Dunst to me, felt rather plain and sour.
My rating: **1/2 / **** What had started interestingly as a satire turns out as a rom-com halfway through and suffered a directional-torn between the two.