How to Stop Being a Loser

"Weak"

How to Stop Being a Loser Review


This British rom-com has enough energy to keep us watching even though it's not particularly funny or romantic. Fortunately there are enough bright sparks in the cast to distract us from the simplistic script and over-egged direction.

James (Phillips) is a geeky misfit who has a sign above his head saying "loser". Literally. After his friend Ian (Grant) commits suicide, he receives a message from him that challenges him to learn how to talk to women. His friends (Leonidas and Grezo) encourage him to try, starting with an awkward chat at Ian's funeral with his school crush Hannah (Atkinson). He then starts a mentorship with cocky motivational speaker Ampersand (Conway), a disciple of womanising writer guru Zeus (Kemp). But this will require changing almost everything about himself.

The film is framed with scenes of James recounting his story to his therapist (Salmon), cutting to flashbacks that are bullet-pointed with chapter headings, self-help tips and montage sequences. This structure is more like a sit-com than a movie, as James goes through a variety of embarrassing situations even though we know who he has in mind and where he'll end up. As things progress, James develops some confidence but can never get past his desperate-nerd persona, so his constant moronic behaviour always feels contrived for the camera.

The film has a bright and comical tone that's watchable when actor-director Burns encourages his actors to do something a bit subtle. But much of the comedy and plotting are punched so hard that it comes across as more pathetic than humorous. Phillips plays James as a Ricky Gervais-style jerk who laughs annoyingly at his own jokes. Along with the rest of the cast, he overplays almost every scene while managing to inject a bit of charm here and there.

In comparison to the similarly themed Crazy, Stupid, Love, this feels painfully thin, packed with random scenes that continually stop any forward momentum. The female roles are so underwritten that the film feels deeply misogynistic, while James isn't much more than a caricature of a clueless guy with no social skills. At least the starry British cameos keeps us chuckling through every silly gyration of the plot.



How to Stop Being a Loser

Facts and Figures

Run time: 109 mins

In Theaters: Friday 18th November 2011

Budget: $1.8M

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

IMDB: 4.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Dominic Burns

Producer: Dominic Burns, , Simon Phillips, Patricia Rybarczyk, Jonathan Sothcott

Starring: Simon Phillips as James, Craig Conway as Ampersand, as Hannah, as Patch, as Dr. Leaner, as Zeus, as Ian, as Kirsty, Nicola Posener as Emma, as Adam

Also starring: ,

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

At just 27 years old, Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan has an almost overwhelming set of...

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

Keanu Reeves picks up his supremely efficient hitman immediately where the 2015 original left him:...

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

Advertisement
The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.