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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.

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(screenplay), (book)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kelan Pannell ...
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Sidney's Mother (archive footage)
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Kelly Jo Charge ...
Apollo Awards Presenter
Christian Maier Smith ...
Apollo Awards Guest
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Felicity Montagu ...
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Thandie Newton
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Ian Bonar ...
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

The most hilarious comedy of the year. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

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Details

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Release Date:

3 October 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Kako izgubiti prijatelje i otuđiti se od ljudi  »

Box Office

Budget:

$27,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£1,154,607 (UK) (5 October 2008)

Gross:

$2,778,752 (USA) (11 December 2008)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Simon Pegg was approached to play the role of Young back in 2004 for a stage version, but this conflicted with shooting on Shaun of the Dead (2004). See more »

Goofs

Sidney's limo drives westbound past B.B. King's but the next shot is of Times Square which is to the east. See more »

Quotes

Sidney Young: When I was a kid, I used to think there was a special place where all the movie stars lived. A kind of "Shangri La". And if you could just get inside there, you'd be happy. Forever.
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Connections

References The Twilight Zone (1959) See more »

Soundtracks

Unconditional (Jagz Kooner Funhouse Mix)
Written by Sam Endicott
Performed by The Bravery
Courtesy of Island Def Jam Records
Under licence from Universal Music Operations
Published by Analfi Coast Music/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 (United Kingdom) – 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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