How to Get Ahead in Advertising
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Slick and cynical ad man Dennis Bagley can sell shampoo to a bald man, but mounting pressures at work begin to push him over the edge. Teetering hilariously between a nervous breakdown and a bizarre metamorphosis involving an evil twin, can Dennis save himself before it’s too late? From the director of the cult classic Withnail and I comes this outrageous and unpredictable comedy starring Richard E. Grant (L.A. Story) and Rachel Ward (The Thorn Birds) that proves two heads are funnier than one.
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Despite being fully aware that it's a send-up, the naked truth of some of the dialogue helped blow away the last shards of advertising credibility for me.
"Let me try and clarify some of this for you.
Best company supermarkets are not interested in selling wholesome foods. They are not worried about the Nation's health. What is concerning them is that the nation appears to be getting worried about it's health. That is what is worrying Bestco, because Bestco want to carry on selling them what it always has, i.e. white bread, baked beans, canned foods, and that supperating, grease-squirting heart attack traditionally known as 'the British sausage.
So... How can we help them with that?
Clearly we are looking for a label' . We need a label that is brimming with health - and everything from the 'Nosh-Pot' to white bread will wear it with pride...."
The construction of the Movie is the thing that always impresses me, the way it totally makes sense within it's own twisted logic. If here's one criticism I have then it's the limited scope: there's not really anything that doesn't relate to the main plot. Some viewers might also be looking for an external conflict, an exciting conclusion, when really this is a story about metamorphosis.
Reservations stated, it's still so original that it deserves all the the glowing plaudits it gets.
p.s. What are some of the * and ** reviewers looking for? A Mercedes Benz being blown up? A gunfight? Some comedy pratfalls at a golf club? A love story? The beauty of this piece is that it doesn't fit into any satirizable genre.
and whoever posted - "John Cleese plays dual roles" - thank you (whispered aside) I don't know what you were watching, but he's not actually in the movie....
These were both roles in which he indulged in heavy drama, and did
very well in both.
How to Get Ahead in Advertising is the first time I've seen Grant as
a comedic player, and I laughed until I fell off the couch. His paranoid,
bug-eyed antics and gestures are unparalleled; considering how he
verbally abuses his female consumer base, the huge boil mocking him
in the mirror is a fitting revenge. Watch and enjoy!