UK Critics Consensus: How To Lose Friends & Alienate People Does Just That; Whilst Brideshead Revisited Is Resisted

Plus, The Fall Falters and 88 Minutes is 88 Minutes Too Long

by | October 3, 2008 | Comments

In the UK cinemas this week we have two literary adaptations with Simon Pegg as an irksome hack in How To Lose Friends & Alienate People , and Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited is given the big screen treatment, 27 years after the seminal ITV drama version charmed the British public. A hospitalised stuntman’s fantasy world is brought to life in The Fall , and Al Pacino thriller, 88 Minutes finally reaches the big screen after 3 years on the shelf. But what did the UK critics have to say?

How To Lose Friends & Alienate People, British journo Toby Young’s memoirs of his times at Vanity Fair is a painfully honest and scathing deconstruction of celebrity culture as seen through the eyes of the ambitious and egotistical hack. Many would have thought the source material to be too close to the bone to be made honestly and faithfully in Hollywood, but with a few name changes and a change in tone Robert Weide‘s adaptation hits the big screen with Simon Pegg as the renamed Sidney Young, and Kirsten Dunst as the love interest. With many of the UK critics being familiar with Young himself, many of the criticisms seem aimed at him rather than the movie, but most agreed that the film misses the satirical points from the source material, and relies too heavily on broad humour and slapstick, ending up neither as sharp or as satirical as it hopes. Plaudits though for Simon Pegg, who puts in a decent performance, lending warmth to the role, making you wonder how he could possibly alienate anyone. The film, though, has lost friends and alienated the critics, currently sitting at 41% on the Tomatometer.

Evelyn Waugh’s novel Brideshead Revisited is probably most well known in the UK for the critically acclaimed 1981 ITV adaptation starring Jeremy Irons, and many questions were raised about how (and even why) you could hope to top the TV show which regularly appears in Best British Drama ever lists. With David Yates set to direct, and with a stellar cast attached (Paul Bettany, Jude Law) expectations were high, but when Yates stepped aside to helm Harry Potter, in stepped Julian Jarrold to direct. Most critics agreed that, although sumptuously produced, the movie suffers in comparison to the TV version, and the film lacks the subtleties of both the novel and the small screen version despite worthy performances from all the main cast. Overwrought and melodramatic, but well acted and enjoyable Brideshead Revisited currently stands at a healthy 64% on the Tomatometer.

Veering away from literary adaptations, Tarsem‘s The Fall tells the story of stuntman Roy Walker, who injures himself in a fall, and ends up bedridden. Distraught after losing his girlfriend, Walker retreats into a fantasy world with tales of wonder and magic, dreamt up for the benefit of fellow patient Alexandria. The UK critics have praised the film for its outrageous imagination and opulent fantasy, but many have labelled the film a sugar-coated folly for its lack of magic. Whatever the critics have to say, they all agree it’s like nothing else they’ve seen this year. At middling 58% on the Tomatometer, you may just have to see it to make your own minds up.

Last week Righteous Kill was a Righteous Turkey at 23% on the Tomatometer. This week, 88 Minutes, which was Al Pacino’s first feature with Righteous Kill director Jon Avnet, gets an overdue airing. Having been sat on the distributor’s shelf for nearly three years, 88 Minutes slips into cinemas hoping to avoid the Kill backlash. But it didn’t. At an even more paltry 5% on the Tomatometer, most critics can’t believe that Pacino even went back to Avnet for Righteous Kill, following the ridiculously bland, insipid and pathetic 88 minutes. Poor script, dreadful turns and clichés aplenty, maybe this should have just gone straight to DVD, which is probably is all it’s good for.

Also worth checking out this week…

Heavy Load — An intriguing and engaging rockumentary that demolishes stereotypes of the mentally challenged, and celebrates the inspirational story of Heavy Load. 100% on the Tomatometer

Import/Export – A grim and disturbing vision from Ulrich Seidl, makes for an uncomfortable and uncompromising picture of life, that is anything but comfy and pedestrian. 73% on the Tomatometer

Fear(s) of the Dark – This French animated horror portmanteau is monochrome and minimalist, visually stunning, but light on scares. 87% on the Tomatometer

Quote of the Week

“It’s a dutiful, good-looking slice of heritage cinema so empty that you expect Keira Knightley to show up at any minute.”

Brideshead Revisited. Sukhdev Sandhu, The Daily Telegraph.

Tag Cloud

Character Guide TIFF GoT game of thrones serial killer DC Comics Pixar Mudbound comic El Rey Baby Yoda australia best Song of Ice and Fire die hard french 2015 Opinion VOD crossover spinoff golden globes Film Festival football binge television Apple TV+ dragons Spring TV FX on Hulu versus documentaries italian festival Classic Film Comics on TV Awards Tour WarnerMedia Lifetime BBC One IFC award winner NBC 45 Paramount name the review The CW revenge VH1 Winners Apple TV Plus LGBT docudrama Winter TV video on demand Animation E! rotten movies we love social media Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt blockbuster Podcast latino Shudder HBO Max police drama SDCC christmas movies elevated horror cops Tubi TV Land Trophy Talk Christmas sitcom Vudu Rock singing competition quibi HBO Go Cartoon Network Trivia stand-up comedy Adult Swim anime canceled BBC Awards MCU Quiz Television Academy archives laika diversity Reality Competition Hulu Sundance Now Comedy Mary Poppins Returns Disney+ Disney Plus Biopics New York Comic Con Amazon Prime Video Stephen King American Society of Cinematographers MSNBC Film aliens space FX Heroines SundanceTV Hallmark Christmas movies joker dogs based on movie Syfy Year in Review franchise Reality Walt Disney Pictures zero dark thirty Travel Channel Emmys fast and furious PlayStation LGBTQ TV renewals Elton John documentary TV finale comic books Peacock films canceled TV shows theme song superhero slashers book Red Carpet Britbox Fall TV dark 71st Emmy Awards casting concert Spectrum Originals TNT History Emmy Nominations strong female leads See It Skip It satire Amazon stop motion true crime Ghostbusters VICE criterion science fiction talk show Paramount Network Tomatazos Ellie Kemper stoner Calendar Holiday ITV YouTube Premium Masterpiece Writers Guild of America spanish TBS political drama comics Columbia Pictures Lucasfilm Certified Fresh Pirates Mindy Kaling batman child's play Crunchyroll robots Western cooking blaxploitation romance Rocky cinemax indiana jones cartoon Family tv talk ABC Esquire Country ESPN zombies DC streaming service The Arrangement Turner Avengers TCA 2017 Comedy Central CBS All Access nature Video Games Interview facebook Extras vampires what to watch sag awards Box Office Lifetime Christmas movies Tarantino BET Awards Set visit directors comedies witnail Nat Geo travel comiccon Star Trek worst movies crime Musical CMT Schedule The Purge NYCC children's TV adaptation TruTV Infographic miniseries Women's History Month screenings dramedy Mary Tyler Moore spy thriller TCM Fantasy Disney Channel Ovation Funimation The Witch Crackle Endgame DC Universe Countdown psychological thriller game show SXSW cancelled TV series MTV Turner Classic Movies Anna Paquin Thanksgiving werewolf Sundance TV Mystery adventure Disney TCA Marathons spain breaking bad news all-time black HBO National Geographic Sci-Fi reviews A24 parents GLAAD PaleyFest Action crime thriller CW Seed Sundance 2016 OWN OneApp festivals discovery First Reviews animated natural history classics Academy Awards streaming hispanic Chernobyl teaser Lionsgate TLC foreign medical drama Netflix Christmas movies Amazon Prime japanese rotten mission: impossible sequel Music Comic Book FXX Grammys halloween cats mutant Logo chucky politics Best and Worst Horror unscripted ID Premiere Dates Oscars emmy awards Epix Dark Horse Comics Marvel Studios USA renewed TV shows dc Warner Bros. Superheroes TCA Winter 2020 remakes cancelled television green book GIFs BAFTA series Black Mirror Creative Arts Emmys Fox News YouTube Red harry potter disaster scary movies Sony Pictures worst zombie a nightmare on elm street Marvel Television A&E south america 2017 justice league Trailer Photos technology 2018 venice universal monsters twilight FOX Freeform cancelled cults Super Bowl indie scorecard APB The Academy Disney Plus Martial Arts Black History Month screen actors guild Apple spider-man Polls and Games free movies TCA Awards Tumblr reboot BBC America Star Wars YouTube 2019 President Pop TV kids crime drama Television Critics Association 21st Century Fox boxoffice cancelled TV shows San Diego Comic-Con Disney streaming service Pride Month Netflix Bravo Food Network supernatural Nominations historical drama cars Discovery Channel CNN anthology Cannes DGA Rom-Com Hallmark Binge Guide Toys USA Network Acorn TV WGN Teen X-Men Showtime Superheroe video PBS 007 Valentine's Day First Look Nickelodeon RT21 72 Emmy Awards biography Kids & Family independent Shondaland nbcuniversal hollywood Marvel hist Sneak Peek Universal IFC Films BET asian-american 20th Century Fox obituary thriller jamie lee curtis war 24 frames ABC Family Rocketman Hear Us Out doctor who Musicals ghosts E3 spanish language richard e. Grant composers romantic comedy Pet Sematary AMC halloween tv critics The Walking Dead Brie Larson movies Spike Starz Pop Cosplay Summer Chilling Adventures of Sabrina 4/20 sequels movie CBS sports Election Watching Series ratings Arrowverse DirecTV psycho Mary poppins Amazon Studios mockumentary Holidays Drama 2020 RT History dceu transformers nfl Captain marvel YA Fox Searchlight toronto period drama toy story