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How to Lose Friends and Alienate People Review Critics


Dave White Profile

...stupidly fictionalized take on real life Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 2.0

    out of 100

    Generally unfavorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 40

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Sheri Linden

    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.

    Read Full Review

  • 50

    out of 100

    USA Today

    Gets muddled in slapstick and crude humor.

    Read Full Review

  • 58

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Lisa Schwarzbaum

    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.

    Read Full Review

  • 63

    out of 100

    ReelViews James Berardinelli

    Feels jumbled and disorganized. It's not altogether unpalatable, but that doesn't present it from being a mess.

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  • 88

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    Possibly the best movie that could be made about Toby Young that isn't rated NC-17.

    Read Full Review

  • See all How to Lose Friends and Alienate People reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 16+

Snarky comedy about celeb culture lacks bite.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this snarky comedy probably isn't on too many teens' radar, though it does star up-and-comers Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead) and Megan Fox (Transformers). It's got plenty of edgy content, from nudity (breasts and rear) and swearing (including "s--t" and "f--k") to drinking (sometimes to excess) and drug references (there's a comic bit about cocaine).

  • Families can talk about the celebrity culture at the center of the movie. Is the film ultimately mocking the media's obsession with stars and their lives or supporting it? Do you think the movie offers an accurate depiction of how Hollywood works -- and how celebrity coverage is shaped by publicists? Why does Sidney get lured in by the celeb culture he seems to despise? And what snaps him back to reality?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: The workplace seems very high school, with the "in crowd" getting away with everything. Sidney appears to forget what matters to him and is seduced by fame and its perks, including gift bags and entry beyond velvet ropes. He does seem to find his center by the time the film ends. Some crass jokes. Some discussions about what New York women want in men, making them sound materialistic.

What to watch for
  • violence false1

    Violence: Some yelling. A party-crasher is hauled off by cops, and a man lunges at a woman in a public forum. More backbiting than punching.

  • sex false3

    Sex: A stripper bares her breasts in a stunt witnessed by kids; a married man cheats on his wife; a writer lusts after a Hollywood starlet, who seems keenly aware of how to show off her assets in skimpy clothing. At some point, the starlet mentions that drugs make her horny, so a man tries to procure some for her. A man takes a woman home and finds out that she's actually a he (viewers see her naked from behind, and her would-be lover comments on "her" genitalia).

  • language false4

    Language: A blue streak, from "s--t" and "f--k" to "t-ts," "dick," and "a--hole."

  • consumerism false4

    Consumerism: Pretty much a catalog of tons of high-end products (Armani, Omega Speedmaster), Broadway shows (Stomp, The Drowsy Chaperone), movies (Con-Air, La Dolce Vita), and much more. The Haymarket Hotel is featured prominently.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Several of Sidney's drunken moments result in offensive behavior, including mocking people out loud and even knocking them down physically. Cocaine is mentioned and later displayed in a small baggie. Specific drinks are also mentioned fairly often, including White Russians.