Trite British indie comedy directed by Dominic Burns aimed at whatever audience might be leftover from the In-betweeners or Peep Show success but who still keep copies of Nuts and FHM under their beds. Anachronistic, limp and self-indulgent, How to Stop Being a Loser fails from the title to the blooper credits. Not even the blessing of the prince of self-delusion the great Withanail, in the film’s opening sequence could put this on any path to enlightenment. Take stronger, better more mind expanding drugs my friends, get off the internet and take us further than the local Essex pub.
Once again, we are in the world of shallow young women and male curiosities. James (Simon Phillips) the believe it-or-not-thirty something bespectacled sad sack wearer of grotesque novelty jumpers, cannot meet women. He had a best friend, who ended his pathetic life for that reason. Determined to not die a loner he employs help from an ‘expert’ in he ‘art of seduction’, a chancer by the named of Ampersand (Craig Conway). Together they have the usual adventures, drinks at the pub, walks in the park, shopping for clothes, usual bro-mance stuff, from which James begins to grow some confidence and finally approaches the vacuous nubile options available at the tacky clubs they visit. He has, however, his heart set on a high school sweetheart, a plane Jane type played by an overacting Gemma Atkinson whom he charms into co-habitation. Before long, sweetheart becomes conniving bitch, surprise, surprise and the geek her man servant, to the dismay of his equally socially challenged friends. The final act is as predictable as you’d expect. Of the films more mature attempt at humour is a gag in which James is re-telling his overcoming adversity story on the psychiatrist couch to a critical listener whom we assume is the Doctor. Like I said attempt at humour.
Of minor notable mention is Stephanie Leonides. She wasn’t handed a great script or direction, but she was a pleasant antidote to the barrage of vapid trollops on offer, not least for her quirky outfits, that made for some breath of freshness. Cute and spunky in equal measure. An all female cast of feisty young women is more what this intended audience is crying out for. Take a leaf out of some one like Russ Myer, Tarantino, even Woody Allen , if you are really interested in objectifying women.
How to Stop Being a Loser is in cinemas 18th November 2011.
Director: Dominic Burns
Stars: Billy Murray, Richard E. Grant, Simon Phillips
Runtime: 109 min
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