Starring: Simon Pegg, Kirsten Dunst, Megan Fox
Director: Robert B. Weide
Running Time: 112 mins
How To Lose Friends & Alienate People is a British film about a young celebrity journalist who is recruited by a high-time magazine to dive into the world of American showbiz, however his arrogant and inappropriate attitude towards his work leaves struggling to make any friends or get anywhere with his life.
I think that this film gets a bit of hard press. It’s not the most intelligent story ever, and, being based off of a true story, it is a bit of a missed opportunity with regards to making a satire about show business, however you can’t escape the fact that it’s got top-notch comedy throughout and fun performances across the board.
Let’s start with what is arguably the weakest part of the film, the plot. The whole thing is an adaptation of a true story (which is apparently much racier than this film), but it doesn’t really make it feel like that. Yes, the central character is a complete idiot, and watching him struggle through everything is both interesting and fun, but the way that this film develops into a slightly generic romantic comedy is a little disappointing in the end.
However, the good thing about this film is that it’s never boring, even in the romantic parts, which comes from two main aspects: the characters and the comedy. Firstly, the characterisation in this film is fantastic, with the young, deluded journalist being the centrepiece of it all. Basically, he’s an idiot, but as well as just laughing at him struggle all the time, there is genuinely some good and convincing character development in him as the film goes on, all brought together very well by a great performance by Simon Pegg.
But it’s not just the main character that’s so good. Even the supporting players add so much to the film and save it from turning into a dull and boring story. Kirsten Dunst is pretty much the only grounded person in the whole film, whilst such characters as Jeff Bridges’ and Megan Fox’s are an example of some satire in this film that does actually work.
Along with that, the comedy here is consistently hilarious. It is a little slapstick-heavy, however what I found most impressive about this is that despite the insufferable main character and dominance of slapstick comedy, it’s never actually very annoying, because there’s just so much to laugh at. There may be a few misfires throughout, but the brilliance here is that there’s another joke seconds away to make you burst out laughing, and even when the romance develops, you don’t have to sit there bored waiting for a gag like in so many other rom-coms.
Overall, I’ll give this a 7.7, because although it’s not the most intelligent or impressive story, its strong performances, characterisation and hilarious comedy all make it an absolute joy to watch.