SIDNEY Young (Simon Pegg) is obsessed with the culture of celebrity. His father, an eminent philosopher, encouraged him to exercise his literary talents by publishing a thesis or novel. Instead, Sidney becomes a celebrity journalist.

Post Modern Review, the London-based magazine he produces from his grotty bed-sit above a kebab shop, offers an alternative view of celebrity culture and openly criticises the Hollywood stars that so many other magazines queue up to worship.

Out of the blue, he receives a call from Clayton Harding, the editor of New-York based Sharps magazine.

Harding is impressed by Sidney’s go-get-‘em attitude and hires him as a celebrity journalist – with predictably disastrous results.

With Bob Weide, the award-winning director of Curb Your Enthusiasm, at the helm and Simon Pegg in the lead role, little can go wrong with How to Lose Friends and Alienate People.

Fans of the show, or the book (by journalist and celebrity commentator Toby Young) will have an idea of what to expect, indeed the film has been eagerly anticipated in both camps for quite some time.

But if you add to this a supporting cast including Megan Fox, Kirsten Dunst and Jeff Bridges and sprinkle with a few celebrity cameos, you have a potential hit on your hands that will appeal to a far wider audience, particularly those who have been eager to see Pegg in a lead role since he last appeared in 2007’s Run, Fatboy, Run.

As someone who read and enjoyed the book on which the movie is based, I had high hopes for the film. The book, Toby Young’s New York memoir, details his experiences at one of the world’s biggest global celebrity magazines, Vanity Fair, in 1995.

The film changes the names of the main players, but the screenplay is a fairly faithful interpretation of the text if you can forgive the inevitable compromises that occur when a bestseller is converted into 110 minutes of celluloid.

Pegg, who admitted that the film contained a lot of physical comedy, certainly does deliver in this regard but the real gift he serves up is the ability to transform an irredeemable and easily dislikeable character into someone loveable; Sidney fails miserably at almost everything, yet you forgive his chronic social incompetence and find yourself rooting for him.

STAR RATING:Š****88 MINUTES (15) (All major cinemas)

TWO disappointing Al Pacino movies directed by Jon Avnet in as many weeks is stretching credibilty to breaking point - but not half as much as the unlikely premise of this picture.

Pacino is a forensics expert who specialises in giving evidence against psychos so it doesn’t come as a total surprise when one of them rings him up and tells him he will be dead in - yes, you guessed it – 88 minutes.


FLY ME TO THE MOON (PG) (Vue, Cheshire Oaks)

THE 3-D gimmick has come a long way in recent years and this animated feature makes the most of it as - somewhat improbably - we follow the fortunes of a family of houseflies who hitch a ride on Apollo 11 in 1969 as it makes its way to the moon!


MIRRORS (18) (All major cinemas)

KEIFER Sutherland tries to translate his 24 success into renewed big screen fame but does so via yet another poor US adaptation of an Asian horror movie - this time one about homicidal mirrors in a burnt out department store.


BRIDESHEAD REVISITED (12A) (All major cinemas)

ADEQUATE film adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s famous novel which, even two decades later, lies fatally in the shadow of the acclaimed TV series but at least features another stunning performance from the eternally under-rated Emma Thompson.