Sidney Young (Pegg) is a disillusioned young journalist. At once enthralled and repulsed by celebrity, he gets his revenge for not being famous by sniping at those who are. He does this via his self-published, cult appeal magazine, Post Modern Review.
And then, one day, following an incident with a pig at the post-BAFTA party, Sidney gets a call from Clayton Harding, a legend of New York publishing and the editor of Sharps, a huge selling, glossy celebrity bible. After learning that Clayton isn’t threatening legal action over his a recent profile piece, Sidney learns the real reason for the call: Clayton is offering a job on Sharps.
Sidney takes the role but rapidly learns that nobody really knows what that role is. All Harding (Bridges) has told him is that there are seven rooms at Sharps: Harding is in the seventh room, while Sidney is in the first room and looking for the exit. As he searches for a way up the corporate ladder — or possibly along the corporate corridor in this particular analogy — the vaguely obnoxious Sidney rubs up his colleagues the wrong way, particularly Alison (Dunst). Sidney slowly learns how to shift from outsider to fully paid up member of the elite he used to hate so vehemently but will it be too late to realise that Alison, not megastarlet Sophie (Fox), is the one?
If you’ve ever read Toby Young’s highly enjoyable memoirs, you may have wondered how they’d turn them into a film. The answer was actually simple: take the basic premise, remove most of the facts, and turn it into a fairly standard, if enjoyable, media-flavoured rom com. This is less an adaptation, more a complete reinvention. Accordingly, if you were a fan of the book, you might feel short-changed by the predictable nature of this reinvention but even so, leave the curmudgeon hat at home and you’ll find more than enough to smile at here. Pegg is an extremely likeable leading man, and Dunst is as cute as you’d hope. The big hitting support players — Anderson, Bridges and Huston — are also excellent although the surprise here is Fox. Her physical appeals have been endorsed by every lads mag in the western world but here she demonstrates an unexpected talent for comedy. The net result isn’t anything ground-breaking but it’s an affable diversion all the same.