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How to Get Ahead in Advertising
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Dennis Dimbleby Bagley is a brilliant young advertising executive who can't come up with a slogan to sell a revolutionary new pimple cream... (imdb)
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How to Get Ahead in Advertising

1989
Comedy
1h 30m
Your probable score
Avg Percentile 61.24% from 297 total ratings

Ratings & Reviews

(296)
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Rated 03 May 2016
61
40th
I almost gave up halfway through; I couldn't find a reason to care about Grant's (well-acted, I'll Grant you that, hyuck hyuck) character and his subsequent problems. The middle feels like a slog to get through, with irritating and slightly gross content. Gets more interesting/weirder as it chugs along, and once the two-way-television conversation rolls around I was back on board. Also, greedy consumerism is bad you say?? [monocle pops out in shock] Well I never!
Rated 11 Jun 2010
75
59th
Although Grant's performance is fantastic, ultimately I felt the film didn't connect. This is a film that has something to say but in the end I don't think it made any point beyond some kind of vague anti-consumerism stance.
Rated 11 Jan 2009
9
94th
Ridiculously well-written satire. "I'm an expert on tits. Tits and peanut butter."
Rated 25 Apr 2008
69
65th
Clever, but not very pleasant.
Rated 09 Nov 2015
75
71st
A top ad man goes insane trying to market a new boil cream. The film deserves praise for its bold and unconventional writing, imagery and finale, but it's a little light substance-wise. The scathing anti-advertising message isn't handled at all subtly but thankfully it never feels as though Robinson is trying to be ground-breakingly profound. What really makes this worthwhile viewing is Grant's wonderfully unhinged performance.
Rated 30 Dec 2009
55
52nd
Unluckily it looks and feels very dated. Because of the lameness in direction a good script doesn't work in parts. Grant is very theatrical and eye catching , the message is a bit old but not irrelevant. Worth the time.
Rated 24 Aug 2009
74
59th
I think the best way to describe this film would be to say that if David Cronenberg ever made a comedy this would be it. It's as if someone combined the Brood and Network into a single film. Absolutely hilarious in parts, downright absurd in others Advertising always manages to entertain. However I have to say it felt that it started off much stronger than it finished. Still worth seeing.
Rated 07 Aug 2009
90
86th
Highly engaging and seriously strange. Richard E. Grant must have had such fun with this role
Rated 25 Jan 2009
94
94th
I have no idea why I like this movie as much as I do. The monologues that bookend the film are perfect capstones to a wonderfully fucked-up allegory of one's postmodern decent into complacency.
Rated 07 Apr 2008
74
90th
Thank the lordy!, a good film that I don't have to submit.
Rated 05 Mar 2019
82
74th
"Cocaine is a hell of a drug"
Rated 25 May 2021
30
10th
British satire is always deranged in such an annoying way. I dunno. Not my thing.
Rated 06 Jan 2022
65
62nd
For a film made in 1989, How to Get Ahead in Advertising is surprisingly (or depressingly) still resonant, though the satire has morphed into a defeated, "yup". Grant carries the film with his theatrical performance, though this may be the only stand-out aspect of the film. The environmental and anti-greed messages are fairly blatant, but stand on par (if not better) than most modern films. For the most part, the film is pretty funny even if it feels dated stylistically.
Rated 25 Oct 2015
50
12th
Withnail & I's more eccentric, alienating sibling
Rated 23 Sep 2014
90
97th
Get Ahead they did! In time that is. A real one-man-show with great laughs.
Rated 22 Apr 2013
55
44th
A ham-handed anti-consumerist message wrapped in a metaphor that couldn't be blunter, and culminating in an anti-climatic, goofy diatribe of a monologue instead of any kind of plot closure. Nevertheless, this film succeeds in a way that had eluded Bruce Robinson in his previous film, "Withnail & I" - this one is actually funny and compellingly quirky.
Rated 23 Jan 2013
80
81st
RICHARD E. GRANT RULES!!!
Rated 17 Jul 2011
92
0th
Classic british black humor with a strong script. Good critisim on advertising and a quirky/funny travel through a creative mind.
Rated 05 Jul 2011
91
90th
The satirical message is nothing profound, but it's presented in such a strange and hilarious way that the film wins big. It also helps that the script is great and Grant is quite the entertaining performer.
Rated 15 May 2011
60
27th
My girlfriend said this is a guy's film, and perhaps she's right. First of all, there's way too much obscenity and crass humor. It starts off slow but picks up halfway through with some good laughs. Through its ridiculous antics it makes some good points about greed and the unscrupulousness of runaway capitalism. The kind of story that's hard to translate to the screen, but Robinson did a decent job considering. Grant's acting is superb. Definitely not for everyone.
Rated 17 Dec 2010
90
95th
what a marvelously unhinged gem.
Rated 23 Aug 2010
80
84th
A viciously biting and brilliantly funny satire of the advertising business. A hotshot ad executive sprouts a boil on his neck which eventually grows eyes and a mouth of its own. He gradually goes mad as the evil boil gets bigger and takes over control of his whole body. A savage indictment of 80s greed culture, with a great performance from Richard E Grant.
Rated 19 Aug 2010
84
77th
From a narrative perspective it loses some steam towards the end but it's consistently funny which makes up for a lot.
Rated 09 Feb 2010
80
83rd
Vicious satire of consumerism that is also outrageously funny. Both the script and Grant's performance are inspired, and Ward and Wilson are great in support. The direction is a bit pedestrian but the film seems more relevant than ever.
Rated 05 Jun 2009
81
79th
Hard to swallow if you didn't know it already, otherwise a great satire deserving of a wider audience.
Rated 01 Apr 2009
89
99th
Great movie. What stuck me is the fact, that 20 years ago people were already well aware of what consumerism and greed is doing to humanity and nature, still things just got worse. Great, funny satire with awesome over-the-top character and acting by Richard E. Grant. A MUST SEE.
Rated 23 Nov 2008
89
90th
Richard E. Grant has a pimple that grows into a head and takes over, it's directed by Bruce - Withnail and I - Robinson, it's a scathing look at the world of advertising, and it ends with a great monologue. You people are just greedy if you expect more from a film!
Rated 03 Jun 2008
75
89th
Very funny.

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