LEONARD MALTIN: Simon Pegg has made a smooth transition from cult figure on British TV, to star and writer of cult movies, and then to leading man. He continues on that path with (this) highly entertaining film. The charm of the film derives from the fact that it’s rooted in reality but isn’t afraid to incorporate slapstick and silliness into the proceedings.
Everyone seems to be on top of his or her game, which says a lot about the contribution of director Robert Weide, who’s making his feature-film debut after an Emmy-winning career crafting documentaries on comedy icons from W.C. Fields to Lenny Bruce and piloting Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm from its inception through its first five seasons. How to Lose Friends and Alienate People has something for everyone—enough lowbrow humor and sexy women to please the crowd and plenty of smarts to satisfy discerning moviegoers as well. It’s a very appealing recipe for success.
ROGER EBERT: 3 1/2 Stars (out of 4) "How to Lose Friends & Alienate People" is possibly the best movie that could be made about Toby Young that isn't rated NC-17. Simon Pegg was born to play Young.
VUE WEEKLY: (4 ½ stars) Director Robert B. Weide uses the rom-com genre’s clichés to gleefully leapfrog into much more enduring comedy. Simon Pegg’s brilliant at turning the unlikable fool into someone we want to see come out on top: he can be ridiculous, but Pegg has more than enough bumbling brit-charm waiting to brings us back to his side when it’s called for. Pegg’s romance with co-worker Alison (Kirsten Dunst) feels like a natural happening for both characters, while Megan Fox is hilarious as a Chihuahua-sporting, ditzy, starlet.
The movie really works in comical details, small and big. (There are) gags that keep the movie from feeling like a stale exercise in the romantic comedy genre. After all, How to Lose Friends is a comedy about the romantic comedy: an excellent send-up of its too-often unbending structure that stresses the comedy part of the equation.
PETE HAMMOND - HOLLYWOOD.COM: A smart, entertaining comedy that will have you laughing from start to finish. How to Lose Friends and Alienate People is perhaps this year’s most refreshing comic surprise, especially since we had no expectations that a book like this could ever be made into a successful movie, much less a romantic comedy. Pegg is almost a throwback to the Chaplin era, a comic buffoon with heart we can’t help but like. In fact, the whole cast is terrific. Dunst is absolutely winning and the perfect foil for Pegg. Their budding romance is believable, even though on the surface they couldn’t be more different. The stunning Megan Fox lives up to her name, and she happens to be very funny, too.
Robert Weide won an Emmy directing HBO’s hilarious sitcom Curb Your Enthusiasm, which he shepherded for five seasons. Certainly if he can handle Larry David’s almost entirely improvised style of comedy, he’s a cinch to make this thing sing--and he does in style. At every step of the way this is the kind of movie that could have gone broadly overboard but sticks smartly and faithfully to character instead. Mostly it all goes down like a fine glass of chardonnay. A fun movie worth checking out.
SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE: "How to Lose Friends & Alienate People" is a sharp-witted satire of celebrity journalism and has much to recommend it once you get past its unwieldy title.
The great thing about "Friends" is that you don't need to know anything about its pedigree to enjoy it. (You’ll be) too busy laughing. It stands alone as a mostly hilarious piece of slapstick, which calls upon Pegg's capacity for physical comedy again and again.
NEW YORK NEWSDAY: Take "The Devil Wears Prada," replace Anne Hathaway with a bottom-feeding British tabloid writer, and what you have is "How to Lose Friends & Alienate People," yet another vehicle in which Simon Pegg can play yet another of the world's more obnoxious humans. And still make us love him. How does he do it?
After all the setting up of Sidney as obnoxious über-nerd, director Robert Weide starts making a somewhat serious movie. Not that the humor doesn't roll along, but Sidney's sense of moral integrity gives the whole story an added dimension. With its rich cast and human quality, "How to Lose" may in fact win friends.
MIAMI HERALD: Toby Young's memoir makes an engaging transition to the screen, thanks to a lively adaptation. This film, directed by Curb Your Enthusiasm's Robert Weide, makes an entertaining companion piece to the book. Simon Pegg is an inspired choice to play Young; he's likable even when he's being impossibly boorish.
L.A. DAILY NEWS: Toby Young’s memoir has now been fictionalized for the movies, sometimes with cutting wit and just as much with slapstick in mind. The film can be quite funny and maintains a devilish but fair outlook on high-end celebrity journalism. Whether Megan Fox is acting or not, she perfectly nails the rising superstarlet Sophie Maes, a genius at getting attention and manipulating Sidney's lust. And their only-in-the-movies reporter-actress relationship is consummated beautifully at the kind of awards show that I've always wanted to see. Overall, it's a smart movie that even makes apt, respectful references to the greatest film on this subject, Federico Fellini's "La Dolce Vita." I'm friendly toward it.
BOSTON HERALD: If you like such insider-y spoofs as “Entourage,” “The Devil Wears Prada” and “Barton Fink,” you’re going to get a wicked kick out of “How to Lose Friends & Alienate People.” It’s a hoot.
KNOXVILLE NEWS SENTINEL: Thanks to Robert B. Weide's direction and Peter Straughan's script, (How To Lose Friends is) hilarious. Dunst shines. Anderson steals all her scenes with icy entitlement. Fox is a sensation. Not only is she drop-dead gorgeous, but she pulls off Sophie's air-headedness and brashness without falling into caricature. "How To Lose Friends" is nearly wall-to-wall fun, right up to a raucous gag in the end credits.
L.A. CITY BEAT: Andy Klein: “How To Lose Friends” is slickly constructed and frequently funny. The whole gang (of actors) turns in letter-perfect work.
AP NETWORK NEWS: How To Lose Friends is funny. It’s a mix of slapstick comedy and well-timed satire. Curb Your Enthusiasm director Bob Weide is behind the camera, making the most of Toby Young’s hit memoir.
AIN'T IT COOL NEWS: Simon Pegg gets closer to realizing his goal of making solid comedy films without the assistance of his director and co-writer Edgar Wright. Director Robert Weide (a director and executive producer on "Curb Your Enthusiasm") has a good time with the physical comedy and visual gags that Pegg handles so well. Recommended.
SALON.COM: Simon Pegg is utterly charming as a troublemaking British journalist in this celeb-media sendup. Bridges and Pegg make sublime counterpoints to each other -- Bridges has the cool smolder of a man who's as angry and rude as he probably was in his 20s, just far better compensated. When Pegg is breaking protocols with his uniquely ballsy aplomb, dancing like a doofus or doing battle with Venetian blinds, the film almost flies. And in its depiction of industry idiocy, the film has moments of wicked wit. Director Robert Weide, a veteran of "Curb Your Enthusiasm," is no stranger to the dark and the uncomfortable. The scenes of publicist Eleanor smugly line-editing one of Young's features, or the impossibly hot Sophie's star-making biopic of Mother Teresa, crackle with vicious humor.
SCREENDAILY.COM: The big-screen translation of Brit journalist Toby Young's doomed sojourn at Vanity Fair is a slick package that recalls everything from The Devil Wears Prada to A Fish Called Wanda. It's a breezy interpretation which should turn out the crowds at home in the UK and may well attract some of the Prada crowd in the US; ultimately, it's a great bet for ancillary and a commercially sound proposition for its backers.
Screen writer Peter Straughan has for the most part got a good grasp on the essence of Toby Young's memoirs. If anyone could pull this loser character off, it's Simon Pegg, who completely convinces and even manages to make the character attractive. It's an impressive performance which transcends the Hot Fuzz/Shaun Of The Dead roles he has played to date and confirms his ability to take centre-stage in a wider-based project.
How To Lose Friends is at its cracking best (when) exploiting the differences between a British journalist and the glitzy, hyper-controlled world of Hollywood celebrity, mercilessly sending up its protagonist.
KGMB9 – HAWAII: Terry Hunter: “How To Lose Friends…” is smart, entertaining, and very funny.
I almost didn't go to see the film, though, because the trailer makes it look like a dumb comedy. But then I learned the filmmaker is Robert Weide who's known for his fine work directing many episodes of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" for Larry David. That was enough to get me to a theater where I thoroughly enjoyed the way the film skewers celebrity journalism, Hollywood egos, and people who worship wealth and fame.
"How to Lose Friends...." has a fine cast, a sharp sense of humor, and no illusions about the Hollywood glitterati.
NORTHERN LIGHT (ANCHORAGE): The film is a very tightly written comedy with a love triangle thrown into the mix. And there are plenty of laughs to be had at some of the very clever lines and humiliating scenarios that Sidney delivers. How much of that hilarity is part of the original script and how much is actually Pegg's brand of comedy is hard to say, but the combination is magic. Pegg's pizzazz in delivering the droll lines leaves the audience laughing at the unbelievable gall of his character. Yet his comedic talents are not the only skills on display here. In this film, Pegg delivers a performance that shows his acting chops as well. He somehow makes the audience care about this appalling man and worry about his fate.
COMBUSTIBLE CELLULOID.COM: 3 Stars (out of 4) Director Robert B. Weide (of the excellent, Oscar-nominated documentary Lenny Bruce: Swear to Tell the Truth) has made an American film, but with a British sensibility; he layers good, broad, dry jokes onto the bones of a traditional Hollywood plot arc. And Pegg proves himself an adept leading funnyman. The highly skilled supporters work wonders as well, notably Bridges, the wonderful Dunst, with her usual hint of heartbreaking sadness, Danny Huston as a sleazy junior editor, and haughty Anderson. Fox manages a brilliant parody of a flighty, fickle actress. This movie has a sweetness that comes only outside the velvet ropes, (but) funny enough to wear down even insiders.
THEMOVIEBOY.COM: A razor-edged exposé on celebrities and the publications that feed into them, "How to Lose Friends & Alienate People" is at times eye-opening outsider's look at a Hollywood lifestyle. (It’s) a sparklingly handled comedy, embracing of its occasional bad taste and respective softer side.
Simon Pegg has now graduated to full-blown leading man status. (He) is terrific as Sidney Young, getting big laughs early on with his stubborn, tell-it-like-it-is demeanor, and then developing nicely as a good-hearted, three-dimensional person. As Alison, Kirsten Dunst is radiant as usual, a game comic foil for Pegg and an ideal love interest with a story arc of her own. The romantic subplot between these two is blessedly low-key, affecting, and sweet.
"How to Lose Friends & Alienate People" is a smart, keen-eyed slice-of-life in addition to being a warmly realized love story. (Viewers) will find a film as entertaining and easy to like as it is shrewd about its subject matter.
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