How to Lose Friends & Alienate People
Directed by Robert Weide
A British journalist tries his hand in New York’s magazine industry.
How to Lose Friends & Alienate People “would have been better if it lived up to its title,” said Robert Philpot in The Kansas City Star. Instead, the ingratiating film tries too hard to “be your friend.” Adapted from Toby Young’s 2002 memoir of the same name, the film chronicles the brief, boorish career of a British journalist recruited to write for Vanity Fair in New York. Young came off as an obnoxious lout in his book, but at least he was funny. The movie removes all sense of irony from its title. Director Robert Weide, of HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, clearly understands satire, said Robert Abele in the Los Angeles Times. But he misses the mark here by turning Young’s escapades, such as hiring a stripper on Take Our Daughters to Work Day, into “lifeless comic bits.” The result is both “derivative and garishly unfunny.” Young’s dry wit has been lost, said Lisa Schwarzbaum in Entertainment Weekly. The film tries to do to Vanity Fair what The Devil Wears Prada did to Vogue, but never achieves the same sting.