How To Lose Friends and Alienate People (2008)

How To Lose Friends & Alienate People (2008)
How To Lose Friends & Alienate People (2008) DVD / Blu-ray

By: Jenna Zine (A Toast) –

This film follows Sidney Young (Simon Pegg) as he rises from lowly reporter to Hollywood bigwig and cashes in on his cache as an editor for the fictional Sharpe’s Magazine, based on Toby Young’s memoir by the same name regarding his time spent working at Vanity Fair. It’s a tale of a real, though highly fictionalized account, of entertainment behind-the-scenes, the cost of selling your soul, and redemption. A life lesson wrapped in a comedy!

A Toast

What’s the sound of one film reviewer clapping? Hopefully it results in the resounding echo of clicks as readers rush to add this movie to their Netflix queues. The aforementioned Simon Pegg brings his usual charm as Young, an aspiring journalist who has a steep ladder to climb. Kirsten Dunst costars as Young’s bitchy colleague who eventually warms to his quirky persona. The cast also features a hilariously deadpan Jeff Bridges as Young’s exasperated boss, Megan Fox as a ditzy starlet (typecasting!) and Gillian Anderson as Eleanor Johnson, a manipulative publicist willing to do whatever it takes to keep her clients on top of the Tinseltown heap. How this pitch-perfect cinematic treat is not a cult classic is beyond me, but hopefully we here at MovieBoozer can change that.

Simon’s everyman appeal drives the plot as he captures the desperation of a wannabe eager to succeed. He makes Toby’s plight appealing and believable – even the smarmy bits. Screenwriter Peter Straughan does an amazing job adapting the book, imbuing the script with verbal zingers that are both cringe-worthy and laugh-out-loud funny. Of course, it doesn’t hurt when Jeff Bridges is one of the talented actors delivering your dialogue! Director Robert B. Weide (Curb Your Enthusiasm) helps illicit dry deliveries from his cast, the same type that make Larry David shine on his show.

The role she was born to play! Good thing, since it’s the only one she’s capable of…

This is the first, and only time, I’ve seen Megan Fox actually act – most likely because it’s a role perfectly tailored to her. She plays Sophie Maes, a vapid, conniving starlet hell-bent on getting uber-famous via shock value and sellable sexuality. Gillian Anderson shines as her publicist – she will scare the shit out of you with her subtle viciousness. Kirsten Dunst makes an affable costar and believable love interest for more than one man – no spoilers, but it’s not as dirty as it sounds… You’ll root for Toby all the way, but no more so than when he and Sophie get in a brawl at an awards show. Priceless.

The real life Toby Young follows up his best-selling memoir with The Sound of No Hands Clapping. Sorry Toby – you’ve got a fan in me and I’m not going to stop until you’re awash in applause!

An unlikely star! I mean Kirsten, of course.


A hilarious look into the dirty world of Hollywood PR and the magazines that help fuel the industry, featuring a self-effacing man with a serious sense of humor.


Bonus Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time a faux promo appears for Sophie Maes’ film, Mother Teresa. (Oh, the rich irony!)

Take a Drink: for each real celebrity cameo. There are several!

Take a Drink: each time the running theme of Toby’s actress mother pops up.

Take a Shot: if you can spot Megan Fox’s real life husband, Brian Austin Green, in a party scene.


Last Call

Keep it running! You’ll be treated to the full-length preview of Mother Teresa, as well as a great soundtrack that pleases to the very end.

About Jenna Zine

Jenna Zine is a writer, unashamed Bachelor franchise recapper & live-tweeter (@JennaZine1), drummer, and occasional standup comic. She's probably somewhere complaining about her bangs. Find more at

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