Here's 'How to Lose' Movie Audiences

Review: "How to Lose Friends & Alienate People" will alienate movie goers.

Oct. 3, 2008 — -- "How to Lose Friends & Alienate People" should have been a slam dunk. The world of celebrity, coupled with the gossip writers who orbit it, has been fertile ground for such sendups as "Entourage" and "Tropic Thunder."

But instead of skewering self-important stars and vapid journalists, "Friends" gets muddled in slapstick and crude humor. It's an odd choice, given the source material. Based on the biting memoir by former Vanity Fair reporter Toby Young, "Friends" follows Sidney Young (Simon Pegg), a British tabloid journalist who joins the New York magazine Sharps.

Sidney soon realizes that New York celebrity journalism is filled more with sycophants than snarky writers.

He soon becomes one of those lapdogs, scheming to sleep with a starlet (Megan Fox), while his co-worker (Kirsten Dunst) can't decide whether she is drawn to or repelled by him.

There are a few spot-on moments, particularly the host-and-parasite relationship between stars and scribes, and the publicists who foster the feeding. But every time "Friends" gets on a roll, it shudders to a halt with screwball humor. Those are the kind of scenes that lose fans and alienate moviegoers.