Smack my rot­ten movie up

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - FILM REVIEWS - DON­ALD CLARKE

KILL YOUR FRIENDS ★ Di­rected by Owen Har­ris. Star­ring Ni­cholas Hoult, James Cor­den, Georgia King, Craig Roberts. 18 cert, gen­eral re­lease, 103 min

Af­ter is­su­ing a trig­ger warn­ing to those ter­ri­fied of bad writ­ing, we of­fer a quote from this abysmal satire of the Brit­pop years. “What’s that bender’s prob­lem apart from the Aids cours­ing through his veins?” Ni­cholas Hoult’s boor­ish A&R man says of a gay col­league.

Do you want an­other? Steven Stelfox, Hoult’s clum­sily named char­ac­ter, notes a level of hi­lar­ity un­matched “since a room­ful of Nazis chuck­led over the blue­prints to Auschwitz”.

Al­most any de­con­tex­tu­alised atroc­ity, how­ever ap­palling, can make sense when placed within a com­pat­i­ble struc­ture. The quips above seem, how­ever, no more amus­ing when en­coun­tered amid the moun­tain of sewage that con­sti­tutes the script of Kill Your Friends.

Re­turn­ing to an era most of us are happy to have for­got­ten, John Niven’s adap­ta­tion of his novel has Stelfox bat­ter­ing a col­league to death within min­utes of the cred­its rolling.

It’s 1997 and ev­ery­body is on the hunt for the new Blur or Oa­sis. We might con­clude that the pres­sure has driven our hero in­sane. Per­haps the prob­lem is con­gen­i­tal. It seems more likely that his con­di­tion springs from Niven’s in­abil­ity to shake plot de­tails of Amer­i­can

Psy­cho from his pan­icked brain. Hoult tries his best, but he seems slightly em­bar­rassed by the wit­less filth that keeps soil­ing his soft palate. Noth­ing else in the screen­play of­fers much re­lief from the child­ish pick­ing of scabs. The film’s ca­cophonous vari­a­tion on The Spice Girls man­ages to com­bine misog­yny with snob­bery in equal mea­sure. A bizarre nano-cameo by Rosanna Ar­quette seems to be in­tended sym­pa­thet­i­cally, but is so clum­sily writ­ten that we al­most find our­selves shar­ing Stelfox’s mis­an­thropic kick­back. The rock bands, as is

so of­ten the case in movies, are no more con­vinc­ing than the group that once won ironic favour in a Kit Kat com­mer­cial.

Yet many re­spectable bands were suf­fi­ciently im­pressed to al­low their mu­sic to be in­cluded. Cig­a­rettes and Al­co­hol? Block Rockin’ Beats? Smack My

Bitch Up? I haven’t heard such kick­ing sounds since I last bought a pair of jeans.

Through­out it all, weary gags are made at the ex­pense of no­to­ri­ous Brit­pop also-rans Menswear. I don’t know what you’re laugh­ing about, Kill Your

Friends. You’re the Menswear of film. You’re Kula Shaker. You’re Shed 7. Sling your hook.

Ni­cholas Hoult as Steven Stelfox: em­bar­rassed by the wit­less filth on dis­play

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