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Parents' Guide to

How to Lose Friends & Alienate People

By S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Snarky comedy about celeb culture lacks bite.

Movie R 2008 110 minutes
How to Lose Friends & Alienate People Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 10+

Simon Pegg Plays unlikable Character in Unwatchable Movie

Simon Pegg's talents are as utterly wasted in the making of this as the viewer's time is in watching it. I love Simon Pegg's work almost in its entirety and my reservation lies entirely with this subpar piece of work. Pegg does an excellent job of portraying a character who is so utterly loathsome that watching that portrayal is loathsome. There is no redemption earned for watching in its entirety, just a fervent wish that time travel was invented so that this screenplay would never have been greenlighted. Don't waste any precious moments of their childhood by letting your kids watch this movie. Watch any other Simon Pegg movie. This one was the ritual sacrifice that made all of his other successes possible.

This title has:

Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
age 17+

Not for kids.

The sexual content in this film is shocking. There is full frontal nudity of a transexual stripper both breasts and penis that lasts for over a minute. It is wildly inappropriate for kids of all ages and I believe should be NC-17 for that scene alone.

This title has:

Too much sex
Too much swearing

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2 ):
Kids say (3 ):

The affable Pegg has made a name for himself playing hapless, nearly hopeless sacks who, despite some loathsome antics, manage to be appealing anyway -- and his charm still works here. It allows him to get away with most of what Sidney does (though not all -- eventually, his act grows tiresome). Dunst is a good foil for him: Alison is low-key yet tetchy and hard to faze. Bridges' character, on the other hand, seems underwritten and underplayed: Clayton could have been the perfect match for Meryl Streep's devilish, Prada-clad editrix, but he's wasted here. But Gillian Anderson is perfect playing a public relations titan. Who knew Scully could be so cold?

HOW TO LOSE FRIENDS & ALIENATE PEOPLE -- based on former Vanity Fair scribe Toby Young's memoir of the same name -- has bite. And it's certainly funny, if not a full-on laugh riot. But it also pulls too many punches and ultimately feels a bit timid; it doesn't skewer celebrity and celeb-mag culture as sharply as it could have (Sidney's Post-Modern Review would have gone all out). In the end, it shies away from alienating the very subject it's making fun of, which makes it not nearly as endearing as it could have been.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: October 1, 2008
  • On DVD or streaming: February 17, 2009
  • Cast: Megan Fox , Simon Pegg , Thandiwe Newton
  • Director: Robert B. Weide
  • Inclusion Information: Female actors, Bisexual actors, Black actors
  • Studio: Number 9 Films
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Run time: 110 minutes
  • MPAA rating: R
  • MPAA explanation: language, some graphic nudity and brief drug material.
  • Last updated: June 20, 2023

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