How to Get Ahead in Advertising (1989)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Black Comedy, Satire, Workplace Comedy  |   Release Date - May 5, 1989 (USA)  |   Run Time - 95 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom  |   MPAA Rating - R
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Synopsis by Brian J. Dillard

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.



advertising, advertising-agency, advertising-campaign, advertising-executive, neck, mental-health