How to Lose Friends & Alienate People is utterly useless. It doesn't contain any sort of instruction on how to lose friends OR alienate people.
Alright, so I'm joking. But Simon Pegg isn't alienating in the way Toby Young (the basis for Pegg's character, who was actually banned from the set for being so alienating) probably was, and that's the problem. Pegg is just alienating in a kooky, offbeat, lovable-loser kind of way- you know, the way Simon Pegg is in every movie. And the inherent reason given for Pegg's Sidney Young being alienating is that he's British. Because we Brits are, of course, all the same slobbish, aloof, unsubtle idiots. And all New Yorkers (we can separate off areas of America, sure, but you won't get away from those generalizations!) are bastards if they're male, or vacuous if they're female. Kirsten Dunst is alright, though, because she's from some Port or something.
This film fails almost immediately by breaking the cardinal rule of noughties filmmaking: never cast Danny Huston. Indeed, the only cast member apart from Pegg it actually knows how to use effectively is Megan Fox, and since she's basically there to look pretty, that job is hardly taxing. But they have Jeff Bridges! And Gillian Anderson! - Both wasted. (Huston, of course, would be used most effectively by being thrown out of a window.) And Kirsten Dunst! - A dull love interest. This woman has comic timing. Try letting her have some jokes. This is supposed to be a comedy, right?
That's harsh. I did laugh at How to Lose Friends and Alienate People on several occasions. But they're easy, personable laughs, not the sharp, vicious laughs I'd expect of Toby Young. Add to that the fact that the film barely goes anywhere and the short journey it does make is as predictable as a pig wrecking a hotel room, and you have an enjoyable but utterly pointless film that's nowhere near as good as it should be. (And it produces a review that reflects how thin it really is. Or I just can't be bothered. You choose.) C