How to Lose Friends & Alienate People

Critics Consensus

A decent performance from Pegg in a disappointing film. Neither sharp nor satirical, Weide's adaptation relies too heavily on slapstick, and misses the point of the source material in the process.



Total Count: 112


Audience Score

User Ratings: 48,709
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Movie Info

Frequent Curb Your Enthusiasm director Robert B. Weide makes his feature directorial debut with this screen adaptation of British writer Toby Young's comedic novel of the same name. When self-promoting scribe Sidney Young (Simon Pegg) accepts a position as a contributing editor for iconic fashion magazine "Sharps," his subsequent attempts to ingratiate himself with both his egotistical boss, Clayton Harding, and the superficial celebrities who populate the pages of the magazine prove disastrously hilarious. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

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Simon Pegg
as Sidney Young
Kirsten Dunst
as Alison Olsen
Gillian Anderson
as Eleanor Johnson
Jeff Bridges
as Clayton Harding
Megan Fox
as Sophie Maes
Danny Huston
as Lawrence Maddox
Max Minghella
as Vincent Lepak
Miriam Margolyes
as Mrs. Kowalski
Bill Paterson
as Richard Young
Diana Kent
as Rachel Petkoff
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Critic Reviews for How to Lose Friends & Alienate People

All Critics (112) | Top Critics (34)

  • Where the movie succeeds is in its sudden right turns, its willingness to kill a dog, always a bold choice, and its consistent emphasis of the comedy over the romance.

    Nov 7, 2008
  • Just because you are supposed to laugh doesn't mean you are going to laugh.

    Nov 7, 2008 | Full Review…
  • Weide bypasses the impulse to push the film at the usual breakneck comedy movie pace, allowing the conflicts to build slowly and with more thought than the film's premise might otherwise suggest.

    Oct 24, 2008 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • It plays like a made-for-CBS redo of The Devil Wears Prada.

    Oct 3, 2008 | Full Review…
  • What was good enough for the printed page -- a comic chronicle of our obsession with the shallow -- has been turned into the object of its own derision.

    Oct 3, 2008 | Full Review…
  • Instead of skewering self-important stars and vapid journalists, Friends gets muddled in slapstick and crude humor.

    Oct 3, 2008 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

    Scott Bowles

    USA Today
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for How to Lose Friends & Alienate People

  • Mar 10, 2018
    I think Simon Pegg is probably better served as a comedic actor in his native British movies, he's proven himself in that field time and time again, but when it comes to things like How to Lose Friends & Alienate People he is never given the opportunity to shine, and it's the lacklustre, derivative movies themselves (like this one) that are to blame. Also, he starts this movie already alienated and he doesn't have any friends, so the title is like???
    Gimly M Super Reviewer
  • Dec 01, 2013
    I like British eccentrics to a point. But all the bad behaviour in the movie falls short and just seems self-destructive.
    Juli R Super Reviewer
  • Mar 21, 2013
    Fairly entertaining, How to Lose Friends & Alienate People delivers laughs but is a bit too crude for this type of romantic comedy. The story follows a British tabloid journalist who gets a job with one of New York's premiere publishing companies, but he soon discovers that he'll have to sell out in order to succeed. Simon Pegg, Kirsten Dunst, Megan Fox, and Jeff Bridges lead the cast; however their performances are pretty mediocre. There's some clever satire in the comedy, yet overall it's typical rom-com stuff. How to Lose Friends & Alienate People is uneven and shallow, but it has its moments.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Jan 26, 2013
    Trying to clear off my DVR, I saw that I had this one there and realized it's one of those movies I've always wanted to watch, but just didn't. So, I finally gave it a shot, and man I wish I would have watched this a few years ago. I love Simon Pegg movies, he is the best geeky/comedy actor out there and I can't think of a real bad movie that he has done. Here he plays Sidney Young, an independent journalist who starts to work for "Sharps", the number one fashion/pop culture magazine. From there he messes everything up, pisses everyone off, and finds out the life he wanted all along, may not be all it's cracked up to be. This has a great supporting cast with Jeff Bridges, Danny Huston, Kirstin Dunst, Megan Fox, and Gillian Anderson. Just wish Nick Frost had popped up somewhere. If your into the "Office" or other Ricky Gervais humor then this is right up your alley. Lot of goofball, uncomfortable situations help make a pretty plain story very funny. Good comedy that flew under the radar that deserves to discovered or rediscovered all over again.
    Everett J Super Reviewer

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