Toby Young's scathing roman clef about his stint working for Vanity Fair is rather loosely adapted for the screen in this film of the same name. Young briefly worked for the high-profile magazine in the mid-1990s, and upon his dismissal he penned a snarky memoir that went on to become a major bestseller. Now, in the film version, we have Simon Pegg as Sidney Young, a cocky journalist who is hired by editor Clayton Harding (Jeff Bridges) to work for Sharps magazine. Sidney arrives in New York with grand plans to expose the ridiculousness of modern celebrity culture, but Harding forces him to work on puff pieces with fellow writer Alison Olsen (Kirsten Dunst). Sidney refuses to adapt to the glitzy magazine world, and is ostracized for his offensive, sloppy behavior. He and Alison--a frustrated novelist at heart--trade barbs and bond over their terrible jobs, slowly developing a quirky camaraderie. Things take a turn when Sidney meets Sophie Maes (Megan Fox), an ambitious starlet. He becomes determined to get Sophie into bed, no matter the cost, and after several madcap incidences involving crushed Chihuahuas and transsexuals, he finds himself suddenly sucked into the flashy world of Sharps. In danger of losing himself completely, he tries to figure out what it is he really wants, and what he is willing to sacrifice to get it.
Bridges puts in an amusing performance as the lackadaisical Harding, and Gillian Anderson is perfect as the icy P.R. queen. Some might feel Pegg, a hugely talented comedian, was perhaps miscast in this rather straightforward comedy; the film is sharp in places, but doesn't come close to capturing the caustic claws of the book. Rather ironically, a story that takes on the nonsense of Hollywood appears to have become a part of the very machine it meant to mock.