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, can Dennis save himself before it's too late?
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This has been one of my favorite movies ever since I saw it 20 years ago (on a bootleg VHS!). It's pretty quirky and unique, but the message is SO good. I loaned it to a friend and never got it back...but years later, I was cleaning out a used car I purchased for my traveling musician bf to use for gigs, and a DVD copy of this fell out of the lining in the trunk!! I stupidly loaned it to another friend and never got it back, so this one is never leaving my house! ;)
Well first off if you don't care for dry British humor than this movie is not for you. The late Beatle George Harrison was one of the Executive Producers of this movie. I had not seen this movie in years and just had to have it on DVD. I had forgotten actually just how funny it was. This movie is totally off the wall in a manner of speaking here. And expect the unexpected at all times when viewing. Would I recommend this movie to the masses? Probably not because like I said here if you do not like dry British humor this movie is not for you. If you are a fan of the late Benny Hill or Monty Python than you will like this for sure. For me, I give it 5 stars across the board.
This is the movie I go back to when I am in a deep dark hole. There is one scene in the kitchen when the character is freaking out that sends me into laughing hysteria. I laugh and cry so hard I give myself an asthma attack and have to stop and calm done before finishing the film. I'm consider it effective laugh therapy!
A comedy of morals set in the world of advertising. 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....
Reviewed in the United States on February 13, 2013
I remember watching this movie back in the day. It made a big impact on my humor. I watched it again the other day and the scene where the main character meets his antagonist was so hilarious I was crying from laughter. This movie is funny, disturbing, odd, thought-provoking, and still pertinent 20 years later.
I've seen Richard E. Grant in Henry & June as well as The Player. 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!
Nothing exciting about this Criterion release : english subtitles, liner notes and a theatrical trailer, that's all. It seems that the HOW TO GET AHEAD IN ADVERTISING DVD release was Criterion price to pay to Handmade Films in order to be allowed to release Bruce Robinson's first movie, the cult classic WITHNAIL AND I. Holy Mysteries of the movie deals ! HOW TO GET AHEAD IN ADVERTISING is not a bad movie, it has even great moments principally due to the terrific performance of Richard E. Grant as Bagley, a young talented executive in the advertising business. Suffering from a nervous breakdown turning soon into schizophreny, Bagley develops a strange boil hiding an alter ego willing to take his place. This horror movie cliché, with the usual special effects involved, gives director Bruce Robinson the opportunity to develop certain ideas about the world we live in. Television, advertised products, show-business have little by little killed our critical sense. We don't know anymore the difference between reality and the lies we have to absorb all day long from our TV sets. These are interesting themes but the satire, in my opinion, often falls short and doesn't have the acuity required by this peculiar genre. A DVD zone manipulation.