I know I've said before that I am totally gaga over Simon Pegg, so I won't go into what a fantastically hilarious portrayal he gave of the seemingly grumpy judge from Top Chef (even though it was a great portrayal at that). No, instead I will say that I have a new sort of respect for Toby Young.
Now, I know that to give a fair review of the film I should have read Toby's memoir that shares the film's name. I haven't and I'm a bit money challenged thanks to all of my other spur of the moment purchases of late (Quarantine, Midnight Meat Train, and the Dead Like Me movie), but I promise I'll show my support and buy HTLFAAP shortly, I promise. I am somewhat familiar with Young, though. If you're a Top Chef fan like I am, then you know him as well.
Initially I thought that his being chosen as a judge was a bit odd and probably prompted by the film itself and the fact that both Anthony Bourdain and Ted Allen were otherwise occupied this season. I must admit, however, that when I saw that Young was missing from at least the first part of the finale, I was a bit sad to see him gone. His eloquent way of basically telling someone that their food sucked superbly was pretty entertaining. In fact, I waited with baited breath to hear exactly how harsh he was going to be to each contestant and felt triumph for the chefs when he complimented them instead. He was entertaining to say the least. I'm not sure if he will be back in the final episode or if he will return next season, but I rather like the man.
Ok, back to Simon Pegg's version now. In the film, Pegg plays Toby Young, a snarky young Brit trying to beg his way into the big time (or sneak, sometimes). Then he's hired on at a big NY magazine run by a man he once idolized and it seems like things are finally looking up. No matter what he does, though, he can't seem to get ahead, at least not on his own terms. Not only that, but his attempts to make friends and be himself just come across asinine and, well, a bit asshole-ish, but in a very funny and endearing way (no doubt thanks to the fact that Pegg is a pretty endearing fellow). I know that some creative license has been taken in making the film so I can't really tell you what actually happened to Young and what was made up for film (I'll have to enlighten you all once I've had a chance to read the book).
Overall it's a funny film (though not at all family friendly) and if you're at least a little familiar with Young, you'll get a kick out of it like I did. If you don't know who he is at all (Mike didn't), you'll still enjoy the film (it's hard not to). You'll also probably be interested in checking out his website and some of his actual articles.
So cheers, and I hope you like the film! Btw, Young worked for Vanity Fair and the folk mentioned in the book are all by name (as far as I know) so if you're curious as to who actually suffered some of Young's misdeeds, you'll have to check out the book like me, though outside of NY society it's likely we won't know who many of them are : )