Metascore
35

Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 25 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 25
  2. Negative: 10 out of 25
  1. Reviewed by: Josh Rosenblatt
    30
    Where Young's book was a slap in the face, this movie is a kick on the backside, all hokey humor and quaint lovability.
  2. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    38
    Nothing in How to Lose Friends feels fresh or on target.
  3. 60
    Pegg has some good obnoxious moments, but he's only a few movies away from becoming Dudley Moore.
  4. 88
    Possibly the best movie that could be made about Toby Young that isn't rated NC-17.
  5. Reviewed by: Helen O'Hara
    60
    Not as smart or as satirical as you might hope, but an enjoyable and often funny look at a mad, mad, mad, mad world.
  6. Best in show is the divine Gillian Anderson as a powerful celebrity publicist, editing the image of her clients in much the same way this adaptation tames Young's much pricklier book.
  7. Reviewed by: Stina Chyn
    50
    Packs a full plate of gasps and giggles.
  8. Reviewed by: Robert Abele
    40
    The putrid showbiz comedy How to Lose Friends & Alienate People appears to hit DEFCON 5 in mistaking its brand of moral laxity for cutesy irreverence.
  9. 75
    This film, directed by Curb Your Enthusiasm's Robert Weide, makes an entertaining companion piece to his book.
  10. Problem is, this movie is all surface - to quote one character, it has hidden shallows.
  11. 25
    Someone describes his writing as "snarky, bitter, witless." The last part pretty well sums up this movie.
  12. An embarassingly unfunny, stumblebum adaptation of Toby Young's memoir.
  13. 58
    It devolves too often into slapstick shenanigans and comedy of embarrassment.
  14. 63
    Feels jumbled and disorganized. It's not altogether unpalatable, but that doesn't present it from being a mess.
  15. When Pegg is breaking protocols with his uniquely ballsy aplomb, dancing like a doofus or doing battle with Venetian blinds, the film almost flies.
  16. A sharp-witted satire of celebrity journalism.
  17. The result is an initially hilarious picture that grows perplexingly trite as screenwriter Peter Straughan transforms Young's sly observations into assembly-line pap.
  18. 25
    People's title proves prophetic, only this time the people being alienated are the suckers in the paying audience.
  19. Unfortunately, both Bridges and Anderson are only intermittently in the movie. And when they're not around, How to Lose Friends loses its satirical edge, becoming an alarmingly safe, almost corny romantic comedy.
  20. Simon Pegg is likably smart and obnoxious as the fish-out-of-water Brit in high-gloss Manhattan, but he's swimming upstream in a feature that substitutes slapstick for scathing wit.
  21. The crushingly unfunny and slopped-together How to Lose Friends & Alienate People has neither the ambition nor the intelligence to do justice to its source material.
  22. Reviewed by: Scott Bowles
    50
    Gets muddled in slapstick and crude humor.
  23. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    30
    Cleverly titled but noxious British comedy.
  24. Reviewed by: Robert Wilonsky
    10
    Weide's big-screen version is sitcom-drab.
  25. The movie based on Young's 2002 memoir is a good bit blunter. One early laugh comes at the expense of a pig urinating on a woman's feet at the BAFTA awards, the British equivalent of the Oscars. And it doesn't get much better, or much smarter, than that.
User Score
6.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 42 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 14
  2. Negative: 4 out of 14
  1. DannyG.
    Oct 26, 2008
    7
    Certainly not a great movie but it is perfectly amiable, with a few sharp digs at the excesses of the New York bourgeoisie (which might explain the overwhelmingly bad reviews in the USA). The cast is excellent. I wish the script had been tighter, the direction less perfunctory but it doesn't deserve the critical panning it has received. I guess it is true. North Americans don't get irony. Full Review »
  2. Apr 23, 2013
    4
    A disappointing movie. I never really found a reason to care about what was going on in this movie, and I'm not sure if it's just the writing or a poor performance from Simon Pegg but the main character just disgusted me. I didn't care about any of the characters and laughs were sparse. How to Lose Friends & Alienate People manages to be poor enough to alienate and lose its audience. Full Review »
  3. Mar 26, 2012
    5
    For the most part, How to Lose Friends & Alienate People is a decent enough British comedy film. Based on journalist Toby Young's memoirs, we follow Sideny Young (Simon Pegg) attempting to make it as a big-name journalist for the massively popular Sharps magazine based in New York. The casting is pretty inconsistent - Pegg makes for a thoroughly unlikeable protagonist (perhaps due to the man Sidney is not-so-loosely based on), but you do warm to him eventually, once you've had time to take some pleasure in some of Sidney's failures. Kirsten Dunst makes for a bit of a comedy revelation as Alison Olsen, Sidney's fellow Sharps journalist and love interest, and Gillian Anderson and Miriam Margolyes seem to be relishing their roles as powerful, media-savvy publicist Eleanor Johnson and Mrs Kowalski, Sidney's landlady respectively. Meagan Fox, surprisingly enough, also impresses, at least if, like me, you take her performance as Sophie Maes, a ditsy actress looking to be taken seriously as an aware jab at her own media image. Elsewhere the casting is rather less impressive. Jeff Bridges, playing Sharps editor Clayton Harding, does a rather fine impression of Jeff Bridges. Also, I am yet to see a film where Danny Huston, here playing Sidney's nemesis and immediate superior Lawrence Maddox, puts any effort into a role, but he's got the "skill" of talking a bit too loudly, then a bit too quietly mastered. The film has a few decent jokes, and makes a passing attempt to comment on the plasticity of celebrity and the vindictiveness of journalism, but it's too long, and somehow still manages a rushed, sloppy ending, and unfortunately for a romantic comedy, the romantic element doesn't really work. A few of the jokes miss their mark as well, and the film does resort to Farrelly-grade crudeness now and again. How to Lose Friends & Alienate People does work as a comedy, and actually tries to say something relevant about the modern world, but a few casting, writing and pacing missteps do threaten to ruin your enjoyment of the film. It's worth watching if you've got an evening to kill, and you want a bit of undemanding fun, but it's probably not worth going out of your way to see. Full Review »