UK Reviews

COSMO LANDESMAN - LONDON SUNDAY TIMES: (RATING: ****) Hilarious. A unique romantic comedy. It has more laughs than any British comedy to appear over the past decade.

The director Robert B. Weide (best known for his work on Curb Your Enthusiasm) and the screen-writer Peter Straughan have made a film that occupies a place somewhere between The Devil Wears Prada and The Sweet Smell of Success. It’s a light comedy, but one that tackles the PR-driven corruption of contemporary magazines and makes serious points without delivering a sermon. In Sidney, we have a great antihero for our times.

Much of its comedy is rooted in slapstick and slipping on the banana skins of social norms and etiquette. Nobody does social embarrassment like Pegg, not even Hugh Grant. And nobody does the lovable loser with such conviction; that big babyface of his hooks your heart.

The film also reveals his talent for serious drama. When Sidney’s father (Bill Paterson), a philosopher, turns up at his son’s apartment, Sidney feels that he disapproves of his shallow life. You can see the terrible hurt across Pegg’s face.

We also get a wonderful performance from Bridges as the majestic grump Clayton Harding. There’s something touching about the relationship between the old editor and the brash young hack.

This isn’t a film about losing friends and alienating people. It’s about what happens when you lose your principles and become alienated from your better self.

ALEX BILMES - GQ MAGAZINE: (RATING: ****) Curb Your Enthusiasm director Bob Weide's film – from a smart screenplay by Peter Straughan – concocts a funny, fizzy, romantic comedy without losing the source material's bite.

The comedy is knockabout, the humour broad, but never dumb. There's lots of silly dancing, there are plenty of jokes, and Pegg is a charming, energetic leading man. The romance is deftly handled, and while the satire of celebrity journalism is hardly vicious, enough blows are landed to satisfy cynics – even those who thought, as the script has it at one point, "that Brad Pitt was a cave in Yorkshire".

SUNDAY TELEGRAPH SEVEN: What a surprise to find myself more moved by the film adaptation of Toby Young’s amusingly brash memoir How To Lose Friends & Alienate People. Two things have gone very right for Young in the making of this film. The first is landing the director Robert Weide, a master of the comedy of embarrassment who also directed the inspired television series Curb Your Enthusiasm. The second is that Young himself – here renamed Sidney Young – is played by Simon Pegg, a British actor with a highly unusual gift for being simultaneously crass and intensely likeable.

Kirsten Dunst gives a charming performance as Young’s love interest, while Megan Fox is dopily convincing as the starlet who piques his lust.

There is cringe-inducing vulgarity aplenty here. But it is also pacey, warm, witty and occasionally poignant.

DEBORAH ROSS - THE SPECTATOR: How to Lose Friends & Alienate People (boasts) an A-list cast, and is directed by Robert Weide, who also directed many of the episodes of Curb your Enthusiasm, possibly the greatest sitcom of all time.

The first hour involves Pegg going for it in a rather Mr Bean-ish/Norman Wisdom-ish way as he trips, falls, spits food, sets off fire alarms and fails to save a Chihuahua from a falling vase. There is a lot of physical comedy, in other words. Amidst all the screwball stuff, there are some fabulously funny moments. Still, the film does mature in the second half, particularly in the scenes where Sidney has to face his disappointed father (Bill Paterson).

This is a fun movie.

THE GUARDIAN: Here is a goofy, amiable adaptation of journalist Toby Young's book -- directed by Robert B Weide, producer and director of Curb Your Enthusiasm.

It's silly but mostly entertaining, and Pegg's open, expressive face is always funny. Perhaps without entirely realising it, the movie provides a through-the-looking-glass satirical version of Ugly Betty and The Devil Wears Prada. There are broad comedy moments and some horribly real moments of socio-professional embarrassment. Enjoyable, in its neurotic fashion.

AMAZON UK (official review) : How to Lose Friends & Alienate People may just be the first true British film--and a splendid one at that--to be set on American soil. The fearless actor Simon Pegg is a scream as Sidney Young, playing quite a different role than his starring one in Shaun of the Dead. Dunst is delicate but steely, and her comedic timing, under the deft direction of Robert B. Weide (Curb Your Enthusiasm), is spot on. Great supporting work, too, by editor Jeff Bridges, whose enthrallment to the power elite, and silver mane, channel Graydon Carter; by Gillian Anderson, as a take-no-prisoners publicist; and by Megan Fox, a starlet cast as a bosom-heaving Mother Teresa. Sidney, and the film, will win you over, with a lot of laughter along the way.--A.T. Hurley

PAUL CONNOLLY - LONDON LITE: Wow, Simon Pegg, is now a Hollywood romcom lead. No, really.

In this adaptation of Toby Young’s memoir he not only achieves the impossible in making Young seem faintly likeable, but also gets to make out with Kirsten Dunst and turn down Hollywood babe du jour, Megan Fox. Somehow, Pegg pulls it off.

The (film) really picks up, with a smattering of brilliant one-liners, a measured use of slapstick, excellent set-pieces, and some excellent performances.

Yes, it does end up as a superior romcom but that’s not so bad, especially as it’s a romcom with a ginger geek who gets the girl. Now, that’s funny.

VIEW LONDON: (RATING: ****) How to Lose Friends & Alienate People is an enjoyable, frequently funny romcom with a strong script and a superb cast on top comic form. Director Robert Weide strikes a decent balance between laugh-out-loud moments and surprisingly sweet scenes, such as Sidney and Alison dancing to the La Dolce Vita soundtrack.

Pegg is the ideal choice to play Sidney, as his likeable, everyman persona ensures that he remains sympathetic, even when he's at his most irritating. Similarly, the drop-dead gorgeous Fox is perfectly cast as starlet du jour Maes (her swimming pool scene is an instant classic), while Dunst gives her most likeable performance since the first Spider-Man movie and there's strong comic support from Bridges, Huston and Anderson.

Worth seeing.

EASY LIVING: This film adaptation perfectly captures the comedy of journalist Toby Young’s memoir of his time at Vanity Fair. It’s a hilarious mockery of both the snide cultural superiority of the English and the fake sham of the American fame game. It’s The Devil Wears Prada with balls.

LOADING: Pegg portrays the lead character as a loveable twat in this slapstick interpretation of the book. A heavyweight cast help the Peggster keep the gags coming thick and fast.

INSTYLE:We love it! Hilarious!

FRONT: Simon Pegg cements his position as Britain’s funniest man in this based-on-an-autobiography tale of one gobshite British journo making a tit of himself while working on a posh US mag. It’s basically a nastier, faster The Devil Wears Prada.

Q: Director Bob Weide who directed TV’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, has the light touch necessary to ground (the) string of absurd actions. There’s a decent slug of belly laughs, and some terrific support from Dunst, Bridges, and Anderson, who is delightfully poisonous as a publicist.

ELLE: Our verdict? Laugh-out loud funny

COMPANY: (RATING: ****) Funny and heartwarming. This deserves the hype.

TATLER: Much more charming than one might reasonably expect. This is popcorn entertainment at its most amenable – The Devil Wears Prada for boys.

COSMOPOLITAN: (Film of the Month.) It’s a fun, silly, slapstick fest that’s a bit too daft to believe – but then, sometimes, daft is what you need.

GLAMOUR: A cheeky nonsense-filled flick that’s worth watching.

LOOK: Hollywood is loving Brits in their rom-coms right now and this is the best of the lot.

WOMAN: You gotta see it! Slapstick-hilarious, this film’s feel-good factor makes it a perfect pick-me-up.

LONDON LITE: (London’s Favourite Films – Capsule Review) A superior romcom. Its script zings with good one-liners.

BLISS: Packed with plenty of saucy laughs.

PHILIP FRENCH - THE OBSERVER: Directed by Robert B Weide, the gifted creator of Curb Your Enthusiasm and numerous documentaries about great comedians, How to Lose Friends & Alienate People is based on British journalist Toby Young's (memoir).

There’s quite a lot that's amusing in the knockabout humour, including an opening scene where Young tries to get into the Bafta Awards in London by pretending that the pig accompanying him is the star of Babe 3.

DAILY STAR: It delivers. This hilarious, coarse comedy left me laughing noisily and often. The spry script splendidly spoofs celebs and their rarified lives of self-adoration. Pegg is terrific comic value as the idiotic accident-prone writer-on-the-make. Kirsten Dunst is enjoyably believable as the girl he fancies and Bridges is a hoot. It’s all good, dirty fun.

THE TIMES TIMES 2: Bob Weide’s bouncy adaptation of Toby’s young’s adventures at Vanity Fair is a blast of fun – a Rocky Horror Picture Show for every journalist on the planet. As an exercise in humiliation it is second to none.

DAILY MIRROR: Movies work best when they seem to speak directly to you, which is why How To Lose Friends is one of my comedies of the year, fully deserving of a large thumbs up. I reckon you’ll love every minute of this fish-out-of-water comedy. Sidney Young (Simon Pegg) offends almost everyone with a series of howlingly funny faux pas.

A kind of Devil Wears Prada for blokes, the humour in this brilliantly funny media satire springs mostly from Sid’s oafish manners and refusal to suck up to celebrities.

SUNDAY MIRROR: (RATING: ****) The wild world of showbiz journalism is deliciously pulled apart in this British comedy, with Simon Pegg perfectly cast as a ridiculously over-confident journalist given his big chance in New York. The film blends smart satire, romantic comedy and a lot of slapstick humor.




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How to Lose Friends & Alienate People