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How to Lose Friends & Alienate People (2008)

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A British writer struggles to fit in at a high-profile magazine in New York City.



(screenplay), (book)
4,787 ( 1,445)




Cast overview, first billed only:
Kelan Pannell ...
Young Sidney
Sidney's Mother (archive footage)
Kelly Jo Charge ...
Apollo Awards Presenter
Christian Maier Smith ...
Apollo Awards Guest
PR Woman
Felicity Montagu ...
Clipboard Nazi
Thandie Newton
Assistant Hotel Manager
Ian Bonar ...
Post Modern Review Staff
Post Modern Review Staff
Post Modern Review Staff


Sidney Young is a disillusioned intellectual who both adores and despises the world of celebrity, fame and glamor. His alternative magazine, "Post Modern Review", pokes fun at the media obsessed stars and bucks trends, and so when Young is offered a job at the diametrically opposed conservative New York based "Sharps" magazine it's something of a shock! It seems "Sharps" editor Clayton Harding is amused by Young's disruption of a post-BAFTA party with a pig posing as Babe. Thus begins Sidney's descent into success - his gradual move from derided outsider to confidante of starlet Sophie Maes. Initially helping him out at Sharps is colleague Alison Olsen, who has her own secret. Wither their friendship? Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


He's across the pond, and out of his depth See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, some graphic nudity and brief drug material | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

3 October 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Kako izgubiti prijatelje i otuđiti se od ljudi  »


Box Office


$27,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£1,154,607 (United Kingdom), 5 October 2008, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,430,294, 5 October 2008, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$2,778,752, 11 December 2008

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$17,286,299, 15 March 2009
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The book Alison Olsen is reading in the break room when Sidney sits down with her is "Relative Stranger: Piecing Together a Life Plagued by Madness" by Mary Loudon. See more »


In the competitor magazine's article on Sophie Maes that Sidney reads, the word "epitome" is spelled "epitomy." See more »


Sidney Young: I sent the fish, you know, goldfish in a bowl. Did she get them?
Sophie Maes' Assistant: Yes, but they were dead!
Sidney Young: All of them?
Sophie Maes' Assistant: Yeah, it was kind of shocking actually! Were they dead when you send them?
Sidney Young: No no, who sends people dead fish?
Sophie Maes' Assistant: The Mafia?
See more »


References Contempt (1963) See more »


With Every Heartbeat (Kenson Remix)
Written by Robyn Carlsson (as Carlsson) and Andreas Kleerup (as Kleerup)
Performed by Robyn Carlsson (as Robyn)
Courtesy of Universal-Island Records Ltd/Konichiwa Records
Under licence from Universal Music Operations
Published by Robynsongs/Universal Music Publishing MGB Ltd/Universal Music Publishing Ltd
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Should have been better but is still a reasonable enough comedy
18 November 2008 | by See all my reviews

Sidney Young runs a small alternative culture magazine in London dedicated to popping the bubble of celebrity. He hits the big time when he gets a call from Clayton Harding, the editor of Sharps magazine – a glossy celebrity magazine based in New York City. Sidney goes into the job thinking he can be different from the puff pieces the magazine is famous for and somehow has been employed as part of Harding's darker streak and longer for more. Sadly this instinct is dead wrong and Sidney finds himself a joke within the office and a failure within the world of celebrity and movie stars that he needs to work.

HTLF&AP (it's easier) is in the mould of The Devil Wears Prada as it is written as an insider's exposé of celebrity culture from someone who discovered it firsthand. Like that film, this one also struggles to tell this tale within a narrative structure that engages. It is helped though by having the central character be a major part of his own discovery, ie not only do we see the world of superficiality that is the celebrity scene but Sidney is more than a pair of eyes as he fails so impressively to assimilate himself into it. The problem is though that it is not savage enough on the celebrity culture and instead tries to draw a lot more humour from Sidney's various pratfalls and failures. This produces some moments of amusement but at the same time it robs the material of the teeth it really should have had. What is left is a reasonably funny comedy that goes where you expect it to, right down to the pat ending that was always going to be there.

Pegg has enough about his performance to be funny even though this is far below the films he has made with Wright. He makes it work better than it should at times but then he cannot bring out an edge that isn't there in the script. The starry supporting cast may be part of the reason that it doesn't tear at the hand that feeds it and indeed there are some solid turns here. Bridges, Anderson, Fox, Huston and others all do reasonably good work around Pegg. Dunst is at her best when in the "hate" part of her "love/hate" relationship with Pegg and I liked her until the film gradually started to use her character to turn the way we all knew it would go.

Not a brilliant film by any means then but still one that is amusing as it treads familiar paths to a weak ending. Should have been better but is still just about good enough to distract as a comedy.

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