BAGLEY: Everything I do is rational.
JULIA: Why have you put chickens down the lavatory?
BAGLEY: To thaw them before dismemberment.
FEATURING: , Rachel Ward, Richard Wilson, Bruce Robinson (voice)
PLOT: Dennis Dimbleby Bagley is an unscrupulous advertising executive, but he finds himself blocked while trying to come up with a campaign to sell pimple cream. The stress leads him to combination epiphany and mental breakdown, and he decides to renounce hypocrisy and manipulation and retire from marketing. The internal strife, however, has caused a boil to form on his neck; and that pustule then forms a face, and a voice, and a personality that’s even nastier than the old Bagley…
- Director Bruce Robinson began his career as a struggling actor, but found greater success when he turned to screenwriting and directing. His first script, The Killing Fields, was nominated for an Oscar in 1984. His first film as director, 1987’s Withnail & I, was a semi-autobiographical story of two poor, hard-drinking actors, also starring
- Robinson (uncredited) provides the voice of the boil.
- Advertising was produced by George Harrison’s Handmade Films, who also produced Monty Python films and the Certified Weird Time Bandits.
- The London Sunday-Times gave away free copies of the DVD as a promotion in 2006.
INDELIBLE IMAGE: Obviously, the fetuslike boil-with-a-face peering out from Bagley’s executive neck.
THREE WEIRD THINGS: Disney birds; chatty chancre; notice his cardboard box?
WHAT MAKES IT WEIRD: How to Get Ahead in Advertising grows organically from that greatest fertilizer of weird films: obsession. Writer/director has Something to Say, and he is not going to let taste, subtlety, or realism get in the way of him saying it. The movie is completely committed to its bizarre two-headed premise, and star Grant gladly goes over the top for his director, literally baring his buttocks while wearing an apron and stuffing frozen chickens in his toilet.
Original trailer for How to Get Ahead in Advertising
COMMENTS: Ad exec Dennis Bagley develops the mother of all zits Continue reading 215. HOW TO GET AHEAD IN ADVERTISING (1989)