How to Lose Friends & Alienate People (2008) Poster

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Getting Into The 7th Room
Chrysanthepop28 May 2009
Straughan's adaptation of 'How to Lose Friends & Alienate People' is a charming and funny albeit familiar film. Yes, the story itself isn't anything new to the screen. The film also had potential of being an engaging satire but it remains rather a feel good romantic comedy. I liked the mixture of American and British humour. It is a well executed film that is rushed in the beginning and clichéd in the end. I enjoyed the mid-sections the most. Pegg, yet again, dominates the movie with his comic power. He's simply hysterical even though he isn't very different from his other films. Jeff Bridges is fantastic. A smoking Gillian Anderson is cast against type as the neurotic, stuck-up and arrogant publicist. Kirsten Dunst looks quite cute here and delivers a charming performance. Megan Fox pretty much plays herself. 'How to Lose Friends & Alienate People' has got some hilarious dialogues brilliantly delivered by the actors. It is the comedic sequences that stand out while the romantic scenes and the more dramatic ones feel rather deja-vu. Pegg proves that he can carry a film on his own and 'How to Lose Friends & Alienate People' remains, at the least, highly entertaining.
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Great fun, absorbing and thought provoking. Plenty of fascinating characters.
geoffgee24 October 2008
I was pleasantly surprised to find that How to Lose Friends and Alienate People was nowhere near as 'gross-out' a comedy as the trailer had led me to expect. I rapidly became absorbed in the unfolding of the narrative and remained engrossed throughout. Pacing of the more visual humorous content was, I thought, spot on. (I mean I got the impression I was witnessing Pegg's attempts at restoring lost control very much 'in real time', so to speak.) At other moments there was time allowed to share the main protagonists' (i.e. Pegg's and Dunst's) reflection on how events were affecting them and what had led them to where they now found themselves. All the characters were well cast, to some extent interesting in and of themselves, and generally quite likable. (Any apparent ruthless ambition displayed tended to be tempered by a corresponding good natured resilience.) An entertaining, intelligently scripted, brilliantly directed and superbly acted film that I would thoroughly recommend.
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Does exactly what it says on the tin
marcusdean11827 October 2008
How To Lose Friends And Alienate People looked like it might be different to the average rom-com we get these days, it looked like it was going to be a smart and satirical look at mainstream Hollywood. It isn't and it wasn't. It's in exactly the same vein as Run Fat Boy Run. I'm not saying that it's a bad film because it isn't and neither is Run Fat Boy Run, but I just felt like I'd seen it all before.

The start was rushed and lacked that flowing feeling. The middle was the best part, with a couple of laugh out loud moments. The end was a walking cliché which came straight from the school of Cameron Crowe (once again not always a bad thing).

Simon Pegg stuck to his normal schtick when he's without Mr. Wright and Mr.Frost, playing the lovable but overall clumsy fish out of water Brit. Jeff Bridges was and still is The Dude so he can do no wrong. Kirsten Dunst stuck to her guns and Megan Fox was thrown in as the so hot at the moment crumpet.

An entertaining film. Not bad. Not great either.
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Pegg brings his great comedy to Sharpe story
Stampsfightclub30 April 2009
Sidney Young (Pegg) moves from England to New York to work for the popular magazine Sharpe's in a hope to live his dream lifestyle but struggles to make a lasting impression.

Based on Toby Young's book about survival in American business, this comedy drama received mixed views from critiques. Labelled as inconsistently funny but with charm by the actors, how to lose friends seemed as a run of the mill fish out of the pond make fun at another culture comedy, but it isn't.

This 2008 picture works on account of its actors and the simple yet sharp story. We start off in the past, then in the present and are working our way forwards to see how Young made his mark at one of America's top magazines.

Pegg (Hot Fuzz) is too likable for words. Whether it's hitting zombies with a cricket bat or showing his sidekick the nature of the law the English actor brings a charm and light heartedness to every scene. Here, when the scripting is good but far from his own standards, he brings a great deal of energy to the picture and he alone is worth watching for. His antics with "Babe 3" are unforgivable, simply breathtaking stuff as is his over exuberant dancing, but he pulls it off splendidly.

Bridges and Anderson do well at portraying the stereotypical magazine bosses where Dunst fits in nicely to the confused love interest. Megan Fox, who stole Transformers, reminds everyone she can act here with a funny hyperbole of a stereotype film star. The fact that her character Sophie Myles is starring in a picture about Mother Teresa is as laughable as her character's antics in the pool. To emphasize the point there is a dog, and Pegg rounds that off in true Brit style comedy, with a great little twist.

Though a British film there is an adaptation of American lifestyle for Young as he tries to fit in and we can see the different approaches to story telling. Young wants the down right dirty contrasted with the American professionalism. The inclusion of modern day tabloid stars will soon make this film dated but the concept of exploitation of film star's gives this edge.

Weide's first picture is not perfect. There are lapses in concentration as the plot becomes too soapy with an awkward obvious twist and there are too many characters to be necessary. The physical comedy can also be overdone. As a side note, the bloopers on the DVD are some of the finest you will ever see, which are almost half an hour long.

This comedy drama has Simon Pegg on shining form again and with the collective approach to story telling and sharp comedy, it is worth watching.
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This movie is better than its audience
jhseeker31 March 2009
Oh dear we don't like it when our super-hero love interest develops a brain do we?

Something has happened to people, they have lost the ability to enjoy, a simple feel-good, love story/comedy? Kirsten Dunst is a revelation - funny, sexy and real. I laughed out loud ooh at least five times and I'm not ashamed to say had a tear in my eye a couple of times too. The cast, acting and script is great, I watch a lot of films right across the board and I haven't seen one in this genre that has been as successful. Those who disagree please tell me where I can find some! I'm sure the book is good too but I think you have to judge it on its own merits.
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Simon Pegg..... You've finally made it!!!!
DanielHoldsworth17 December 2008
Amazing performance from Simon Pegg who just gets better and better with every role. As usual he plays the part of a very cringy character who makes you want to hide behind your cushion in embarrassment for him sometimes, but thats what Pegg is all about.

The laughs were regular and eye watering and everyone of them aimed at Penn. The movie was very cleverly put together where every character plays a very sophisticated and serious part with Penn being the only humour involved which is a huge credit to the Director Robert Weide.

And I cant let this one go without a quick round of applause to Gilliam Anderson who shone throughout. Highly recommended to all.
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Should have been better but is still a reasonable enough comedy
bob the moo18 November 2008
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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Pegg List Grows As This Movie Does Not Fail To Deliver The Laughs
dobbin-427 October 2008
Pegg has had a few hits in the past few years, starting with "Shaun Of The Dead" in 2004, movie on to "Hot Fuzz 2007", early 2008 he came out with "Run Fat Boy Run" and now comes this, "How To Lose Friends And Alienate People" which is in many ways one of my favourite comedy's of the year.

The film is about Sidney Yound, a man who writes a failing magazine who makes fun of celebrity's mostly because he is not one of them. Anyway, one of the most successful magazine owners (Played By Jeff Bridges) invites him (Out of nostalgia) to work at his magazine. Sidney is of course excited and moves to America, there he meets a girl currently writing a book, and hilarity ensues.

This film is great and I hope more come out like it in the near future. Pegg has once again given people everywhere another good film and I cant wait to the see the third part of the blood and ice cream trilogy "Paul". I Rate this film 81%.
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voice over man "The embarrassment will kill you....again and again"
buddybickford6 May 2010
This film is diabolically bad, there is not one remark or scene of any Wit whatsoever. Peggs character goes through the movie trying to defeat the 'Gliteratti' magazine publishers contrived lifestyles by embarrassing himself over and over, somehow this is supposed to be considered as an irony an thus is supposed to elevate him to a superior level of intellect. In fact he is so obnoxious he in fact does not achieve this and the very people who the audience are supposed to find fake and shallow are in fact easily much nicer people than he is.

But finally I have looked at the reviews, and anyone who gave this trash poor reviews got hardly any votes but, reviewers who found this unbearable tale 'fantastic' got many positive feedbacks, all of these people are insecure, and they are making a nonsense of the voting. I actually watched this because IMDb users collectively gave it good reviews, next time I will consider their insecurities and realize they always vote positively as they are voting to some self imposed construction of their own online identity and not the movie. Go ahead give me no votes I don't care it, this film is an embarrassing bore if you like it that speaks volumes.

Simon Pegg so you were quite happy to make English people look like slimy idiotic crass vulgar moronic losers who stand up at lawn parties and Shout EN-GER-LAAAAND EN-GER-LAAAND. They say everyones got a price, what ever you made from that movie you should be ordered by the Queen to give it to charity.
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How to lose an audience
paul2001sw-112 May 2011
Toby Young may be an annoying attention-seeker (his latest wheeze is to organise a protest in favour of UK government cuts) but he can write, certainly has a way with a title, and although his memoir of his time in the U.S. has a self-deprecating attitude, has had a reasonable successful career. Simon Pegg has also had a reasonably successful career, but as a comic actor playing hopeless losers. But someone chose to cast Pegg as Young, and make a disappointingly slapstick film based loosely on Young's story, devoid of any subtlety or plausibility. Most disappointingly, the film has been turned into that most depressing of genre movies, the rom-com. The problem here is not with the idea of romantic comedy per se, but its drearily mundane conventional realisation, and it's as if the makers of this film have gone out of their way to replace any hint of originality with the formula: so goofish Young is surrounded by impossibly beautiful women, but spends most of his time in the company of a deep, artistic woman who can't stand him for most of the movie but who eventually falls in love with him. Both the rom and the com and predictably crass; and the innate interest in Young's tale is utterly unrealised, in this example of how to lose audiences and alienate people.
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wow...just wow
jakethebiggestsnake21 March 2011
I watched this thinking I would have a fun time watching simon pegg making fun of Hollywood.

Instaid I watched almost two hours of the most predictable crap I have ever seen... This is seriously at the same level of humor as Plump fiction. At least four times someone started a two line gag (for example "maybe it's better I don't have any" by megan fox) and each freaking time I knew the joke line that would follow. besides being predictable it's just plain non funny, there are no real might give off a small laugh once, I did. but one laugh in 2 hours of comedy means you are not watching anything good.

And not just that, simon pegg is so unlikeable in this film that I just wanted him to fall off of a roof. When he makes his so called reversal and turns into an "evil sellout" all I see is a man who learns to f-ing grow up, who no longer acts like the most ignorant and stupid man on the planet, and who you could see yourself talking to for longer than two seconds.

I advice against watching this, and would say watch any other simon pegg film for a second ,third or even 100th time before going for this.
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With absolutely ZERO to make anyone like him in any way, "How to Lose Friends & Alienate People" just goes too far to be enjoyable.
MartinHafer26 December 2013
This film is based on the novel by the same name by Toby Young and is about his life in New York when he worked for "Vanity Fair" magazine. How close the book, this movie and reality are related to each other is something I do not know. I'd love to know if Young is really this thoroughly hateful and boorish.

In England, Sidney Young (Simon Pegg) spends his life trying to crash celebrity parties to get stories for his fledgling blog or magazine (I'm not sure which--nor do I really care). For no apparent reason, the editor of a HUGE magazine in New York (Jeff Bridges) calls Young and offers him a job. So, his years of crashing parties is over--with "Sharps" magazine, he now has entrée--albeit, it's at a very low-level job. Once in New York, Young pretty much alienates himself from everyone because he's a worthless, boorish and despicable guy. Folks with Asperger's Syndrome would be MUCH more adept given the same opportunity. Yet, again and again, he manages to say and do the wrong thing. Why a co-worker (Kirsten Dunst) eventually grows to care about him is inexplicable, as he gives them almost nothing to like. And, how this guy manages to eventually be a success is beyond me.

The problem is that the character of Sidney Young is so abrasive, so annoying, so shallow and so thoroughly unlikable that it just doesn't seem possible. He is possibly the worst person I've seen in a film that isn't Hitler or some other despotic world dictator. Heck, Freddy Kruger and Jason are more charismatic and likable than Sidney Young! Had they made him HARD to like instead of IMPOSSIBLE to like, it might have worked. Or, at least, it would have worked a lot better.

So, if Young is this awful, what else is there if anything? Well, not much. Most of the rest of the folks in the film aren't likable, either. Plus, you'll be assaulted with a lot of nastiness--such as the often use of the 'ol F-bomb AND a full-frontal she-male* nude scene (I did NOT need to see this). All in all, a film I kept HOPING would become better but didn't. A huge disappointment. And, it makes you wonder how very talented folks (such as Pegg and Kirsten Dunst) agreed to star in such an unlikable film.

*What is the best and most accepted way to say this? I have no idea but the person looked exactly like a sexy lady with male genitalia.
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Really not as funny as I was expecting
Smells_Like_Cheese11 October 2008
I am such a huge fan of Simon Pegg, I really love this guy, he is such a great comedic actor and has so much potential, but what is with How to Lose Friends & Alienate People? How did he get this mediocre script? Now granted, I'm going to give this movie a little credit, it's better than most romantic comedies, but I'm just so sadly disappointed with this movie. I was so excited to see it because from the trailer it looked incredibly funny, but you know those movies where all the funny parts are shown in the trailer, then you see the movie and the rest of the film just doesn't get you like the trailer did? That's How to Lose Friends & Alienate People in a nutshell. Simon Pegg is funny, but for some reason he seems more forced than usual in this movie and his chemistry with Kirsten Dunst is off. While there are some funny moments, this is not the laugh out loud comedy I was expecting.

Sydney Young has always dreamed of rubbing elbows with the big time celebrities, he has a job as a celebrity journalist, but he's not exactly well known, so he's constantly thrown out of the parties and award shows. He is offered a job at Sharp's Magazine in New York City, but he's not having the easiest time being accepted by his peers. They think he's a creep, a loser, a low life, etc. But with the help of sarcastic journalist, Alison Olsen, Sydney is soon rubbing his elbows with the rich and famous hoping to date the gorgeous new hot actress, Sophie Maes.

How to Lose Friends & Alienate People didn't do well here in the U.S. and I think because it didn't receive the proper publicity. Simon Pegg needs to make one movie that is really going to stand out here in the U.S. that will give him the proper push into a great leading man around the world. Kirsten doesn't look like she really enjoyed making this film and I think that's what threw her and Simon off, she seemed as forced as Simon, so this film didn't really work. There are a couple laughs here and there, but nothing to really get excited about, so I'm just going to say if you want to still see this movie, I'd recommend just doing a rental, it's a basic romantic comedy, just nothing too special.

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A sad day for fans of Simon Pegg
BrendanGriffiths27 January 2009
Simon Pegg stars as Sidney Young, a stereotypically clumsy idiot Brit working as a celebrity journalist in this US comedy. After getting a very lucky break he starts work at the highly respected Sharps magazine run by a reliably on form Jeff Bridges in New York. It's more The Devil Wears Prada than Shaun of the Dead. The unlikely love interest is provided by Kirsten Dunst who works well with Pegg for the laughs but they don't exactly set the screen ablaze with their passion.

Sidney goes through some emotional challenges while trying to decide if he should forget about his journalistic principles in order to get material in the magazine. Of course he's eventually seduced by the glitz and glamour of the world of celebrities especially the young starlet Sophie Maes (Transformers' Megan Fox). Fans of Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and Spaced will wonder if Pegg himself ever experienced similar feelings in real life with this film and to an extent Run Fat Boy Run as one of the UK's best comic talents being ruined by the US.

All in all this is a forgettable comedy. Please come back to us Simon, we can forgive and forget.
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Taken Down a Pegg or Two
paberry-120 February 2009
Simon Pegg's meteorological rise ends abruptly as he crash lands in America in this "comedy" mish-mash that unsuccessfully combines stereotypical characters and old jokes creating a transatlantic and makes Mr Bean look like an Oscar winner.

The thin plot makes no sense. New York is painted as the cut-throat capital of the world but allows an inexperienced Brit to work for four months, repeatedly cocking-up, turning down assignments, and producing no work whatsoever.

Maybe I'm a little oversensitive as a Brit living and working in New York but I've seen people fired in their first week in a job for putting too much sugar in their boss's coffee. OK, that's completely untrue. Now I'm peddling a stereotype but you get my point.

Pegg's boozy charm and "one of the lads" persona, which has him chanting football songs at a Hamptons' Garden Party, is completely undermined when he turns out to be a member of the aristocracy (that must have been an American's idea).

As a love interest, Kirsten Dunst has her appeal but comedically she has the timing of a British Airways terminal opening. Gillian Anderson is obviously desperate for work. I believe a daytime soap is ready to catch a falling star.

I'm so glad to see that Pegg had nothing to do with the writing, directing or production of this piece of transatlantic tripe. He has to be a bit more careful about choosing his roles if he is to build on his his big screen successes.

There is one redeeming feature about this movie. Thandie Newton is still totally shaggable.
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A daily comment from Midget Emma: How to Lose Friends & Alienate People (2008)
This could have been so much better. Sure it delivered laughs but the plot fell short. The only reason i saw this was because of Simon Pegg( Who i loved in Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the dead). Pegg was still great but this movie felt like it didn't deserve him. This had the material to be up there with Pegg's other movies but it just fell under. Simon Pegg should stick to the British comedies with Nick Frost. This was a good comedy to sit back and have a laugh with but if your going for Simon Pegg then you won't get the quality of the other movies.

I recommend it if you want a comedy that you don't have to take seriously. Toby Young should have handed his memoirs to Edgar Wright. He could have made it funnier. This was funny but if you came here for the next Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz then turn around and run.

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How to Lose Friends and Alienate People kept me as a friend!
moviesaccordingtodes14 October 2010
I really like that Kristen Dunst has been getting out of her usual pretty teen roles. She's definitely been branching out these past few years I was unable to tell if Megan Fox was a really bad actress or if that was her role. I guess her role was just to stand there and look pretty but it seemed like she was trying too hard.

How to Lose Friends and Alienate People was great! Very funny. It had a darker humor and it was pretty heavy but there were so many very funny and unexpected moments.

I absolutely hated the main character at first but you were supposed to. He grows on you just like he does with everyone else in the film. He is endearing once you get to know him more but he is very obnoxious and outrageous at first.

There was this very sweet underlying story about regular people just trying to achieve their dreams.

I thoroughly enjoyed this. I haven't really seen anything quite like this in a while and I just love that type of humor.
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Simon Pegg - grossly overrated.
SmokeyTee29 March 2009
I felt I was watching some dreary 1950s 'comedy' throughout most of this film. Jack Lemmon/Walter Mathau would have been right at home or perhaps Elmer Fudd as the main character.

Clichéd plot devices are recognisable a mile away and you might find yourself wondering "Will they really adhere to this formulaic rubbish? Or will they surprise me and turn it all on its head - & hopefully soon!" Unfortunately they don't and this film is neither fresh, funny or exciting. My partner and I snored our way through this one and looked at each other searchingly before declaring our mutual disrespect for it once it was over.

It's a shame when utterly stupid American pap uses British talent to attract a semi-intelligent audience. To be honest though Simon Pegg hasn't delivered consistently in any of his films I've seen, Shaun was rubbish after the drunken walk home at the start and Hot Fuzz was pretty unbalanced - and arguably saved by Timothy Dalton and supporting cast.

Contrary to some reviewers opinions I thought Jeff Bridges was weak, in the final minutes of the awful, awful awards scene I actually cried "Nice acting big guy!" as Bridges produced the most unconvincing 'acting' I'd seen since Lost in Space.
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Surprisingly Tolerable, But Dunst and Pegg Lack Chemistry
jneveau8513 October 2008
When I settled in to watch this movie, I wasn't expecting much. The many negative reviews I had already seen of the film had me braced for a crap fest of epic proportions.

I was surprised to learn that this movie really isn't that bad. The plot follows a British journalist who works for a tabloid in England, and is hired to write for the prestigious NY magazine "Sharps". He quickly realizes that he doesn't fit in at all with the pretentious and snobby society that inhabits the publication, and his frequent run-ins with Kirsten Dunst and Jeff Bridges illustrate a lack of general people skills.

As the movie progresses, however, Pegg starts to shed some light on the character's history, his likes and dislikes, and in general lends a greater understanding to Sidney. Dunst also starts to warm up to him as his personality becomes less chafing and more tolerable.

The only problem I really had with this is that Dunst and Pegg really never seemed to genuinely feel any emotion toward each other other than brute hostility. I'm not sure if it's because either of them is necessarily bad at conveying happy emotions, but they both seem to be better at loathing than at loving.

Megan Fox is pretty much relegated to a hyped up version of herself, a sex goddess looking to be taken seriously in Hollywood. This reminded me of Johnny Depp's heartthrob character in "Cry Baby", but where it fell short is that you never feel like you know Fox at all other than what you see in the ads throughout the movie. Perhaps that's what it was going for, and if that's the case it certainly succeeded.

Overall, I gave the movie a 6/10 because it wasn't as bad as everyone cracked it up to be. However, it did have a couple of fatal flaws that definitely limited the enjoyment factor, and I can see why some moviegoers hated it.
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tastyhotdogs21 March 2009
"How to win friends and alienate people" is the story of Sidney Young (Pegg), the brains behind "Post-Modern Review", a British celebrity rag that pokes fun at celebrities. One day to his amazement he gets offered a role at "Sharps" magazine in NY, one of the most respected magazines in the industry. He figures he's there to shake things up, but he's wrong and is given some very boring "work your way up from the bottom" work to do.

From early on Sidney alienates most around him by being obnoxious, a little too rough around the edges and unwilling to "play the game". He struggles to find any allies until he gradually wins over Alison (Dunst, in her finest work since "Jumangi"), a co-worker in his department. Sidney soon learns though to get anywhere he'll have to sell-out to get their respect and fulfill his dream of having sex with rising actress Sophie (Megan Fox, who I know nothing of except learning she has an older sister from her profile).

Not bad overall, with Pegg surprisingly good as Sidney. At first you instantly hate him, but eventually he wins you over. A solid cast also featuring Jeff Bridges (who I'd assumed was dead) and Scully from the X-Files, who seems to be making a comeback. Some pretty clever scenes and some freaky ones.
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Con Air is the best movie ever because...
mr_popcorn16 November 2008
How to Lose Friends & Alienate People is in all honesty one of the best comedies I've seen this year along with Pineapple Express and Step Brothers. Its not one of those "gross out" comedies that heavily relies on fart jokes and toilet humor but instead moves at an affable pace and you will be easily attached to the unfolding narrative. Simon Pegg nails it in the coffin with his hilarious portrayal of a fish-out-of-water character and is quickly detaching himself from the tripod he once belonged to back in England (the other two would be Nick Frost and Edgar Wright). Getting yourself in the top of the Hollywood food chain is a hard thing to do as we can clearly see with Pegg, his first jab at the lead role was David Schwimmer's comedy Run Fatboy Run but it received lukewarm reviews from critics and audiences alike. His second try is this movie, got fairly positive reviews from the majority but was a flop in the box office. I, for one still haven't lost faith in him and I'll still be there whenever he wants to take that third shot for glory.

Other characters were well cast from Jeff Bridges to Danny Huston and Gillian Anderson. Surprisingly, Kirsten Dunst in my opinion fared well in this movie as the love angle to Pegg's character however, the spark that I saw in Interview with the Vampire is still lost. She needs to find it, fast or she might suffer the consequences of being lost in the land of "rom-coms" forever.
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Looky-Loo reaches the 7th Room
ferguson-64 October 2008
Greetings again from the darkness. Effectively odd comedy based on Toby Young's book and directed by "Curb Your Enthusiasm" regular Robert Weide. With so few quality comedies these days, it is refreshing to see a unique approach ... a bit of a satire on the whole celebrity thing while also commenting on the outsiders or "looky-loo's".

Simon Pegg ("Hot Fuzz") stays under control most of the time and is well cast as the Toby Young-type lead who gets his shot inside the red rope. While there, he quickly falls head over for the hot new thing played by Megan Fox (who in real life is for some reason, the hot new thing). Of course, we do get the sidebar of true love building with another in the form of Kristen Dunst, Pegg's co-worker, who also has a thing going with their married scumbag boss, played devilishly well by Danny Huston. Pegg, Dunst and Huston all work for the burned out, once rebellious celebrity magazine editor, Jeff Bridges (who flashes immensely more hair here than in "Iron Man").

Megan Fox's agent is played by Gillian Anderson, who also represents the hot new director, played by an unrecognizable Max Minghella ("Art School Confidential"). The brilliance of the film is that Pegg is really not all that likable, but we somehow pull for him to figure it all out ... probably because everyone else has a bit of the sleaze that we have come to hate in our co-workers and bosses.

Pegg, Huston and Dunst are all fine in their roles and Bridges is his always reliable self. The bizarre part is watching Megan Fox, who plays the role seemingly drugged out and oblivious to all that's going on. She just doesn't look, act or seem right through the entire film.

Some of the best stuff is when Pegg's father (a famous writer and British Lord) shows up unannounced and is treated to a nervous Pegg and intoxicated Dunst. Also the fake movie trailer with Fox playing a young and lustful Mother Teresa is creative, and I loved the use of 50's actress Janette Scott (complete with real movie scenes) as Pegg's deceased actress mother. Multiple laughs, and some very enjoyable vignettes throughout ... works on a few levels.
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How to lose viewers and alienate film fans
delian-431 March 2009
Not that he'd care, but I'm not one of Simon Pegg's friends. If I was, there's a good chance we'd fallout if he continued to make dross like this. The trouble is, he found a successful formula as the bumbling, ordinary guy-next-door type in Shawn of the Dead, Run Fat Boy Run etc, but it's starting to wear thin. Here his character has no discernible qualities, he's rude and obnoxious, and thinks he's funny when he frankly isn't. When transferred to New York from London (and I presume this link is meant to appeal to viewers on both sides of the Atlantic), he proves equally out of place with his new colleagues. Still, is it any wonder when amongst his jolly japes he hires a transvestite stripper to appear at an editorial meeting an act of revenge for his boss. Yet somehow, Kirsten Dunst starts to warm to him, even though he's done nothing nice. Oh, and because he's a superficial male he falls for Megan Fox at first sight, possibly because her character is as shallow as his. It all makes for a predictable film conclusion, although I can't see any viewer expressing how this mirrored their life. The shame is that on paper this is a cast supposedly worth watching. Pegg, though, plays himself, Kirsten Dunst seems to just go though the motions, creating no on screen chemistry, and Megan Fox isn't stretched at all. The one huge plus is Miriam Margolyes, as Pegg's New York landlady - now if she had been on screen longer.....
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The Dude finally cleans up!
Anonymous_Maxine1 March 2009
Simon Pegg plays the part of Sidney Young, a young entertainment writer who has begun the beginnings of a career writing for a grassroots magazine that specializes in badmouthing the shallowness and superficiality of the rich and famous. He is making a career out of lampooning celebrities, although he has a desperate wish to be a celebrity himself. The movie is based on the very bizarre career of Toby Young, who also ran a small magazine in Britain called the Modern Review, which offered scathing criticism of pretty much everything imaginable, until he closed the magazine in a hail of verbal bullets with his co-editor, and then went on to a spectacularly failed career as a writer for Vanity Fair, which is pretty much the part of his life told in this movie.

He is at first thrilled to go work for a major publication (called Sharp's Magazine in the movie), and despite active nerves he is positively beaming on his first day. He meets the chief editor, Clayton Harding (played by Jeff Bridges), who is hard as nails but who is also exactly the kind of editor he needs to be for a goof-off like Young to keep his job at the magazine. He offers little in the form of immediate acceptance of Young, but he also has what can only be described as a liberal tolerance of Young's off-the-wall antics and inappropriate behavior.

Much of the comedy in the movie is derived from Young's misunderstanding of or indifference to the generally accepted code of public behavior and the peculiar etiquette involved in dealing with the rich and famous. But Sidney's reasons for acting in such a weird way and for giving outwardly offensive interviews is because he believes that he loathes the entire celebrity culture and, it would seem, he believes in that age-old saying – 'If you can't beat 'em, join 'em…and THEN beat 'em."

Complicating matters are two very different women. There is a charming, regular girl at the magazine named Alison Olsen (Kirsten Dunst) who at first is appalled by Sidney's obvious arrogance and womanizing ways, and a stunning model named Sophie (Megan Fox), who represents the celebrity culture. Needless to say, Sidney's endless attack of superficiality and stardom is a superficial lust for Sophie, the one with the look of a star.

Sophie is stunningly beautiful, it's true, but also comes across as having not a single thought rattling around in her head. Alison is a regular girl, not very interesting or attractive, but Dunst's performance makes her a real person. A relationship with her would have all the reality of a Britney Spears marriage, and yet the movie retains some level of believability because, despite how obvious this is, we also feel Sidney's pain in not pursuing her (I felt it, anyway).

How To Lose Friends and Alienate People has a pretty interesting premise and is full of honest, satisfactory performances, and although it turns into a bit of your standard romantic comedy by the third act, it has a variety of well-developed and interesting characters. Danny Huston, for example, gives us a great performance as Alison's other love interest, who pays homage to The Big Lebowski (also starring Bridges) with his ever-present White Russian, one of my personal favorite drinks. Buying Absolute and Kahlua here in China costs the equivalent of about $350, but my kitchen is never without them.

I am looking forward to the day when Simon Pegg will branch out a little bit, because I love his films but I am completely unsure about his range. He played a serious character in Hot Fuzz, but only serious in relation to the lunacy surrounding him, and ultimately went back to being himself again, which he has pretty much been in Shaun of the Dead, Run, Fat Boy, Run, and now How To Lose Friends. He's a rising star, it will be interesting to see what else he can do.
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A waste of everyone's time and talent
bikerpaul6821 January 2021
Simon Pegg's earlier films such as Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, made me laugh a lot, so when "How to Lose Friends..." was shown on TV I thought I'd give it a try. The first few minutes, which take place in the UK, also had me chuckling, but things go rapidly downhill when his character, Sidney Young, moves to New York. Can there be anyone in either country ignorant of the fact that the British are not like the Americans? And yet the whole of the rest of the film milks that fact for all it's worth. Pegg himself rapidly becomes very unfunny and just annoying, Jeff Bridges seems to be embarrassed by the whole thing (as he should be), and Gillian Anderson is scarcely recognizable. The only actor who emerges with any credit from this awful film is Miriam Margolyes, and even she is forced to play the caricature of a landlady in a cheap block of flats - but she is a wonderful comic actress. Maybe the user reviewers who liked this film saw it as a straightforward romance story, but even on that level it's pathetic.
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