• Film

How to Stop Being a Loser


Time Out says

Dateless loser is schooled in pick-up lines by ladies’ man but realises it’s not the way to true love… This story may be as old as the hills but when it works, it can be funny and charming. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work in this Brit comedy. Simon Phillips is James, a geek smarting from the death of a lonely friend (I say ‘smarting’ because there’s nothing resembling deep emotion in this film). After attending a seduction seminar, James hires the speaker, Ampersand (Craig Conway), to tutor him. This man is kooky – you can tell by his name. He also knows how to insult a woman into bed, or at least into giving him a hand job, which leads to a few well-observed moments and many uncomfortable ones. School crush Hannah (Gemma Atkinson) is James’s target, with best friend Patch (Stephanie Leonidas) the pretty one in the wings.

Relatively charm-free characters mean this film plods from one predictable set piece to another, occasionally enlivened by one-liners and appearances from more experienced actors (Richard E Grant, Martin Kemp, Sheridan Smith, Colin Salmon, Neil Maskell and Martin Compston… director Dominic Burns must be well-connected). It’s not the worst British comedy, but if it were a TV pilot – which it feels like – there’d be little chance of this winning a full series.

Release Details

  • Rated:15
  • Release date:Friday 18 November 2011
  • Duration:105 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:Dominic Burns
  • Cast:
    • Richard E Grant
    • Billy Murray
    • Colin Salmon
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