6.4/10
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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.

Director:

Robert B. Weide

Writers:

Peter Straughan (screenplay), Toby Young (book)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kelan Pannell Kelan Pannell ... Young Sidney
Janette Scott ... Sidney's Mother (archive footage)
Danny Huston ... Lawrence Maddox
Simon Pegg ... Sidney Young
Megan Fox ... Sophie Maes
Gillian Anderson ... Eleanor Johnson
Kelly Jo Charge Kelly Jo Charge ... Apollo Awards Presenter
Christian Maier Smith Christian Maier Smith ... Apollo Awards Guest
Katherine Parkinson ... PR Woman
Felicity Montagu ... Clipboard Nazi
Thandie Newton ... Thandie Newton
John Lightbody ... Assistant Hotel Manager
Ian Bonar Ian Bonar ... Post Modern Review Staff
James Corden ... Post Modern Review Staff
Fenella Woolgar ... Post Modern Review Staff
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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:

Brace yourselves, America. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 October 2008 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Kako izgubiti prijatelje i otuđiti se od ljudi See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$28,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,430,294, 5 October 2008

Gross USA:

$2,778,752

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$19,151,797
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | DTS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Megan Fox was cast in her role before Transformers (2007) was released. Director Robert B. Weide had hoped he would have been the one credited with uncovering this new talent, and so after Transformers (2007) was a big hit, and Fox quickly becoming an international sex symbol, he remarked he was disappointed, not for her, but for the fact he wasn't the one who first brought her to the cinematic stage. See more »

Goofs

In the opening crane-down shot at the open air party (about half way through the movie) you can see a tiny "hair in the gate" at the bottom-center of the screen. It is still there in the subsequent shot, but has obviously been removed in time for the next one. See more »

Quotes

Clayton Harding: [Meeting with Sidney for the first time in Clayton's corporate office] You think you've arrived, don't you? Hate to break it to you, but you're only in the first room. In about a year, maybe longer, you'll discover a secret doorway at the back of the first room that leads to the second. And in time, if you're lucky, you'll discover another doorway in the back of the second room that leads to the third. There are seven rooms altogether. You're in the first. I'm in the seventh. Don't you forget it...
Sidney Young: [...]
See more »

Connections

References Contempt (1963) See more »

Soundtracks

Francesca
Written and Performed by John Pizzarelli
Courtesy of Telarc International
www.telarc.com
Published by Sony/ATV Music Publishing
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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 bob the mooSee 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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