Review: ‘How to Stop Being a Loser’

A tongue-tied virginal geek receives lessons in the art of the pickup in charmless Brit comedy "How to Stop Being a Loser."

A tongue-tied virginal geek receives lessons in the art of the pickup in charmless Brit comedy “How to Stop Being a Loser.” Populated by lead actors lacking either charisma or marquee value, and with a screenplay light on amusing moments, the pic reps a distribution challenge across all platforms, and is unlikely to achieve much traction overseas. Three-day opening at 17 U.K. cinemas totalled £3,300 ($5,300).

Following the suicide of fellow loser Ian (Richard E. Grant), socially inept online-gaming addict James (Simon Phillips) determines to take action, turning to dating guru Ampersand (Craig Conway). Despite possessing approximately 1% of the appeal of Ryan Gosling in “Crazy Stupid Love” or Vince Vaughn in “Swingers,” the unlikely mentor is presented here as a hit with the ladies. Under Ampersand’s boorish direction, James finally succeeds in snaring the interest of his high-school crush object, Hannah (Gemma Atkinson), revealed to be a selfish shrew; platonic friend Patch (Stephanie Leonidas) waits patiently in the wings. Visually flat direction and weak tech package suggest a bare-bones budget, while the crediting of 40 co-exec producers suggests an unusual funding model. Any other novelty is in short supply.

How to Stop Being a Loser



A Crabtree Films release of a Press On Features, Black and Blue Films and Templeheart Films production. (International sales: Press On Features, London.) Produced by Billy Murray, Jonathan Sothcott, Simon Phillips, Dominic Burns, Patricia Rybarczyk. Executive producers, Richard Jones, Lewis James, Adam Smithe, Lyndon Baldock. Co-producers, Andy Thompson, Toby Meredith. Directed by Dominic Burns. Screenplay, Chris Grezo, Rupert Knowles.


Camera (color, widescreen, HD) Alessio Valori; editor, Richard Colton; music, Matthew Williams; art director, Luis San Martin; costume designer, Natalie Egleton. Reviewed on DVD, London, Nov. 20, 2011. Running time: 109 MIN.


Simon Phillips, Craig Conway, Gemma Atkinson, Stephanie Leonidas, Chris Grezo, Colin Salmon, Billy Murray, Jamie Longthorne, Martin Compston, Dominic Burns, Neil Maskell, Martin Kemp, Richard E. Grant, Sheridan Smith, Jill Halfpenny, Adele Silva.

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