• How To Lose Friends And Alienate People

    Released By: Olive Films
    Released On: November 24, 2015
    Director: Robert B. Weide
    Cast: Simon Pegg, Megan Fox, Kirsten Dunst
    Year: 2008
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    The Movie:

    Sidney Young (Simon Pegg) runs a failing celebrity gossip magazine out of London, England, that can attribute its lack of success directly to lack of access to the celebrities it attempts to cover. It's not for lack of trying; Sidney has used every trick in the book to get into the A-list parties and awards ceremonies where the beautiful people congregate. When trying to pass off a pig as the star of the Babe films doesn't get him past the velvet rope and onto the red carpet, Sidney disguises himself as a waiter to crash the after-party at a swanky hotel. Surprisingly, his idiotic plan works; until the aforementioned pig escapes their hotel room and wreaks havoc on the rich and famous. An ass-kicking from Clint Eastwood swiftly follows, and Sidney is, as always, returned to the street whence he came.

    In an amazing stroke of luck, a photo of Sidney's headlock waltz with The Man With No Name makes it into the papers and is spotted by Clayton Harding, head honcho of the extremely influential and affluent Sharps Magazine in New York City. Reminded of his younger days with the cynically biting celebrity social mag, "Snipe", Harding puts Sidney on contract and brings him to work for Sharps. Out of his element and in the big big city of Manhattan, Sidney arrives at Sharps with big plans and a goal to shake things up, but is quickly put in his place by Harding, who lets him know that he's starting at the bottom. His co-workers aren't jumping at the chance to board the good ship Sidney, either, with his immature, drunken shenanigans horrifying and disgusting Alison (Kirsten Dunst) his only potential ally, and finally gaining access to an A-list party proves a bust when he makes super-glamorous star Sophie Maes (Megan Fox) uncomfortable with his star-struck conversation.

    With everyone at Sharps treating him as an insignificant outsider, and his radical suggestions falling on Clayton Harding's deaf ears, Sidney gets his first taste of success when he writes a disgustingly patronizing profile of a self-important new director. Resolved to taking the easy way out, he quickly climbs the ladder at the magazine, gaining wealth and stature by churning out articles that go against his very core, selling himself out and succumbing to material things, until he reaches the point of no turning back; to carry on selling himself out to gain everything he's ever wanted, or to be true to himself and get what he really needs.

    Yeah, the formula is, well, formulaic. And make no mistake, How To Lose Friends and Alienate People is loosely based on Toby Young's book of the same name, but this is most definitely a romantic comedy thinly disguised as something else entirely. However, this mid-tier rom-com with Simon Pegg is still way funnier than what passes for top-tier comedy. Pegg is the star of the show, of course, delivering comedy that varies from in your face funny to more subtle, laugh about it later; and a surprisingly large supporting cast; Megan Fox, Gillian Anderson, Kirsten Dunst, Chris O'Dowd, Danny Houston; make it difficult to chalk this one up to not worth seeing. Unfortunately, the film does trip over its laces as it rounds the last lap, getting bogged down in the cliche associated with this genre, and squeaks past the finish line, predictably, as these things often do.

    All of that being said, the good far outweighs the bad, and there are way too many things to love about this film. There's never any doubt where How To Lose Friends And Alienate People is going, but what's in between makes the journey worthwhile.


    Olive presents this Blu-ray in a 1.85:1 AVC encoded transfer that looks great. Detail is sharp, black levels are solid, and there are no visual issues that pop up as a hindrance during the running time.

    A DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is a nice touch, utilizing the surrounds tastefully and never excessively, with dialogue well-balanced and clear throughout. No hisses, pops, or other issues present themselves.

    There are no subtitles included with this release, and a trailer for the film is the lone extra feature.

    The Final Word:

    Surprisingly funny, How To Lose Friends And Alienate People doesn't really deserve to be labeled just as a romantic comedy. Definitely worth seeing.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!