HOW TO LOSE FRIENDS AND ALIENATE PEOPLE is very loosely based on the memoir of the same name by Toby Young. But something got seriously lost in the translation and screenwriter Peter Straughan not only missed the point of the book, but everyone involved missed an opportunity to tell a funny story. Instead, we have to put up with Simon Pegg looking completely out of place and a story that is constantly frustrating.
Simon Pegg is Sidney Young, a British columnist that’s recruited by Sharpes magazine editor Clayton (Jeff Bridges) to join his writing team. But Sidney doesn’t fit in with the sleazy way of doing business with the Hollywood elite and instead rubs everyone the wrong way and almost immediately alienates himself from his co-workers, the people he writes about and the one person at Sharpes that doesn’t completely hate him.
Simon Pegg is one of the most likable actors working today. Whether it’s Star Trek, Mission Impossible or the Cornetto Trilogy, he always shines and draws the audience in. Which is why it’s frustrating to watch him in HOW TO LOSE FRIENDS AND ALIENATE PEOPLE. Pegg had to roll with what was written for him, but the character is so obnoxious and stupid that the question of how do you lose friends and alienate people can be summed up with the simple answer; have Simon Pegg play an a-hole. There was no mystery as to why people hated Sidney, he was rude, immature and annoying. What we needed from Sidney was a little more innocence. We needed to relate to him or sympathize with his situation. The one redeeming quality to Sidney was that he refused to sell out to further his career. This lasted for about 30 minutes and then he decided to sell out to get the promotion and the shallow girl. This made us hate him even more and removed the one thing we liked about him.
The rest of the cast did fine with what they had, but everyone was there to support Pegg. Megan Fox was perfectly cast as the shallow actress, Gillian Anderson nailed the role of demanding publicist and Jeff Bridges showed up and put on a fancy suit to play Clayton. Kirsten Dunst had a string of annoying performances during the late 2000’s and you can count this among them. I don’t know how she manages to deliver every line like she’s complaining about the weather. But this is Pegg’s movie through and through and it’s a testament to his charm and ability that he was able to get past this role.
HOW TO LOSE FRIENDS AND ALIENATE PEOPLE is a giant misstep for everyone involved. The worst part is that there’s clearly a good movie somewhere in here and all it really needed was a more likable lead character. Pegg could have given that, but Sidney is written as such a terrible person that it’s hard to take any interest in anything that happens to him. This one might be best left forgotten.
Video: Olive Films was the only one willing to release this on Blu-ray, so we can’t complain too much about the video quality, but the transfer is laced with inconsistencies.
Audio: The audio was fine.
There are no special features