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

New Movies

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The kill-or-die scenario that this movie hinges on isn't something new; it's been used in...

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

With the more dumbed-down title Fast & Furious 8 outside of North America, this overcrowded...

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

British writer-director Terence Davies (The Deep Blue Sea) is an expert at digging beneath the...

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

Julian Barnes' Booker Prize-winning novel is adapted into a remarkably intelligent, gently involving film anchored...

The Boss Baby Movie Review

The Boss Baby Movie Review

There isn't a lot of subtlety in this madcap animated comedy, which is more aimed...

Advertisement
City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

After the latest incarnation of Dredd, director Pete Travis shifts gears drastically for this complex...

Going in Style Movie Review

Going in Style Movie Review

This is only technically a remake of the iconic 1979 film starring movie icons George...

Graduation Movie Review

Graduation Movie Review

Romanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) recounts another staggeringly detailed...

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

This sci-fi thriller is so visually stunning that it deserves to be mentioned in the...

Free Fire Movie Review

Free Fire Movie Review

Basically a 90-minute shoot-out, there isn't a lot to this movie. British filmmaker Ben Wheatley...

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

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.