• Film

How To Lose Friends & Alienate People


Time Out says

Evening Standard restaurant critic and self-styled gobshite Toby Young has his experiences as contributing editor at Vanity Fair under Graydon Carter splayed inelegantly across the screen in this bland, old-fashioned and largely mirthless middlebrow Britcom. Some minor tweaks have been allowed for, so we have Simon Pegg as Sidney Young, working for Sharps magazine under Clayton Harding (Jeff Bridges). The film plays like a gender-reversed riff on ‘Bridget Jones’ and charts Sidney’s efforts to uphold his gawky principles in the high-rolling world of New York journalism. As empty-headed movie starlets and their no-shit publicists totter about the place, Sidney gawps sycophantically from the sidelines while his shy and quietly supercilious co-worker Alison (Kirsten Dunst) arches her eyebrows in constant bemusement.

For a film about upholding personal ideals, its glossy packaging and derivative ‘will he get the girl?’ narrative sell any credibility down the river in favour of affected screwball larks about transvestite strippers and dead chihuahuas. Add to that a tired idea of bumbling but lovable Brits abroad (The Hugh Grant Syndrome) and a lazy, antiquated depiction of journalism, and there isn’t much to trouble the intellect. Pegg turns the pratfall-o-meter up to 11 and, admittedly, makes the best of a bad situation, but his deadpan comic wiles aren’t sufficiently served by the weak material and limp direction. References to ‘La Dolce Vita’ and ‘Le Mépris’ only help to confirm what withering celebrity satires they are, and this isn’t.

Release Details

  • Rated:15
  • Release date:Friday 3 October 2008
  • Duration:110 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:Robert B.Weide
  • Screenwriter:Peter Straughan
  • Cast:
    • Simon Pegg
    • Megan Fox
    • Kirsten Dunst
    • Gillian Anderson
    • Jeff Bridges
    • Margo Stilley
    • Danny Huston
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