How to Get Ahead in Advertising

How to Get Ahead in Advertising

Director: Bruce Robinson

Cast: Bruce Robinson, Richard E. Grant, Rachel Ward, Richard Wilson

     
 

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After years of capitalizing on the weaknesses of a gullible public, a London advertising executive finds that his worst qualities have literally taken on a life of their own in this scathing satire. Successful copywriter Dennis Bagley (Richard E. Grant) lives a posh life with his lovely wife, Julia (Rachel Ward), in the London suburbs. Pushed to distraction by a…  See more details below

Overview

After years of capitalizing on the weaknesses of a gullible public, a London advertising executive finds that his worst qualities have literally taken on a life of their own in this scathing satire. Successful copywriter Dennis Bagley (Richard E. Grant) lives a posh life with his lovely wife, Julia (Rachel Ward), in the London suburbs. Pushed to distraction by a bothersome new pimple-ointment account, he flirts with renouncing his career and becoming socially aware. Immediately thereafter, Bagley discovers that he's developed a zit of his own -- a monstrous boil on his neck that begins whispering evil things in his ear. Convinced that he's being taken over by his dark half, Bagley soon finds his "good" self relegated to the boil while his malevolent alter ego returns to the world of advertising with a vengeance. At first, Julia is relieved that her husband seems to have bounced back from the abyss of mental illness, but soon she realizes that she prefers the gentle but crazy Dennis to the poisonous professional. Written and directed by Withnail & I's Bruce Robinson, How to Get Ahead in Advertising reunites the director with that film's leading man Richard E. Grant.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Brian J. Dillard
This black-hearted satire from actor-turned-director Bruce Robinson offers an incisive look at the cynicism and ugliness of unfettered capitalism. But it ain't Kafka, which is why it loses something once it gets past its witty setup and into its metamorphic main story line. Richard E. Grant is never less than riveting as the two sides of his personality -- the human being and the ad man -- split in two and one takes up residence in the talking boil on his neck. He's at his best, however, not when he's gibbering to himself, but when he's coldly explaining the mechanisms by which advertisers and their employers control the world. "'We know it's naughty, but you do deserve it,'" his character spits at a group of hapless junior account execs. "'Go on, darling, swallow a bun!" And she does. And the instant she does, the guilt cuts in. So here we are again with our diet." Such diatribes may ultimately grow wearisome, especially when espoused endlessly by a sentient pimple, but they turn the film's first act into a razor sharp satire about all that's ugly in modern consumer culture. As the film progresses, however, writer/director Robinson treats his talking-boil conceit literally rather than figuratively, and the laughs quickly become shrill. Rachel Ward is likable as the attractive wife who'd rather enjoy her privileged life than face up to the fiendish career that enables it, while Jacqueline Tong provides an amusing target for the Grant character's vitriol.

Product Details

Release Date:
01/11/2011
UPC:
0014381657425
Original Release:
1989
Rating:
R
Source:
Image Entertainment
Time:
1:48:00

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Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Richard E. Grant Dennis Bagley
Rachel Ward Julia Bagley
Richard Wilson Bristol
Jacqueline Tong Penny Wheelstock
John Shrapnel Psychiatrist
Susan Wooldridge Monica
Mick Ford Richard
Jacqueline Pearce Maude
Lucy Boulting Actor
Tanveer Ghani Hospital Doctor
Christopher Simon Waiter
Kerryann White Girl in Elevator
Hugh Armstrong Harry Wax
Gino Melvazzi Waiter
Victor Lucas Tweedy Man
Dawn Keeler Tweedy Woman
Vivienne McKone Receptionist
Donald Hoath Businessman
John Levitt Businessman
Gordon Gostelow Priest
Pip Torrens Jonathan
Tony Slattery Basil
Rachel Fielding Jennifer
Pauline Melville Mrs. Wallace
Francesca Longrigg Nurse
Joanna Mays Phillis Blokey
Sean Bean Larry Frisk
Roddy Maude-Roxby Dr. Gatty

Technical Credits
Bruce Robinson Director,Screenwriter
Ray Cooper Co-producer
David Dundas Score Composer
Peter Frampton Makeup
Andrea Galer Costumes/Costume Designer
David Goruti Choreography
Robyn Hamilton-Doney Set Decoration/Design
Peter Hannan Cinematographer
Henry Harris Art Director
George Harrison Executive Producer
Peter Kohn Asst. Director
Denis O'Brien Executive Producer
Michael Pickwoad Production Designer
Bob Smith Cinematographer
Alan Strachan Editor
Kathy Sykes Production Manager
David Toguri Choreography
Rick Wentworth Score Composer
David Wimbury Co-producer

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