5 out of 10
Release Date: 19th November 2011 (DVD Premiere)
Cast: Simon Phillips, Craig Conway, Gemma Atkinson, Stephanie Leonidas, Colin Salmon, Chris Grezo, Martin Compston, Dominic Burns, Sheridan Smith, Larissa Houghton, Rita Ramnani, Peter Barrett with Martin Kemp, Neil Maskell, Adele Silva, Billy Murray and Richard E. Grant
Writer: Chris Grezo & Rupert Knowles
Trailer: HOW TO STOP BEING A LOSER
To Proof & Edit: Here’s a down market coarser version of the Will Smith vehicle Hitch. You know the plot. Dork seeks to be accepted by women and goes about employing a love guru, attains the girl of his dreams, leaves his friends behind, dream girl is a bitch, falls for ignored best friend, the end. Was that a spoiler? Not really, because if you like these kinds of movies you’ve already seen twenty just like it. How To Stop Being a Loser also features the staple last minute dash to the airport! Arghhh! So what’s left to distinguish this is the embellishments in it’s margins. Most of what’s on offer consists of spunk and fart jokes, but it still manages to have a modicum of originality and energy. For the most part though How To… overstays it’s welcome by abandoning it’s stupidity and becoming straight jacketed by a very tired format.
What How To.. has in it’s favour though is a very large and game cast. Yes, it’s stuffed with all the usual suspects that hang around the independent movie scene like the plague but at least most of them look like they’re having a good time. Colin Salmon (STALKER) actually achieves a career best in my opinion as the psychiatrist our hapless hero, James (SIMON PHILLIPS – FALL OF THE ESSEX BOYS) and titular loser tells his story to. His incredulous and unprofessional shrink would have stolen the movie if were not for the army of familiar faces via for attention in a parade of weird walk-on roles. Chief of whom is Richard E Grant (WITHNAIL & I) who is as fab as ever in a fleeting role as fellow loser, Ian. Neil Maskell (KILL LIST) also shows up as a sensitive gangster with a sideline in palm reading<?> Billy Murray (THE BILL) runs around with a garden ornament in the shape of Paddington Bear under his arm for most of his screen time and lastly Martin Kemp (JACK FALLS) has fun as king of the love guru’s Zeus!
The leads are competent enough. Simon Phillips shows his flair for comedy. He should concentrate his energies here. The quality of his contributions to indie drama are still in question. His James is convincing and he looks the part. Maybe Simon Phillips is a nerd in real life and that’s why James is a snug fit for him. Joe Pesci II’s (the other contributor to Britpic) favourite Craig Conway (AIRBORNE) takes the Will Smith role and he’s pretty awful to tell you the truth. If someone like his Ampersand could pull a modern woman with ease… Actually, this doesn’t take place in any kind of reality I recognise so I’ll drop that line of enquiry. He rushes about like a cross between The Mask and Drop Dead Fred to zero comic effect and he’s a huge reason beyond the film’s formulaic approach that How To… is the clunker it is.
The women are better than they normally are in indies. Gemma Atkinson (HOLLYOAKS) is suitably sexy and evil as the unattainable crush at the centre of James’ predicament and the underemployed Stephanie Leonidas – wonderful in Mirrormask – is fiery as the neglected best friend, Patch. They are well-sketched and you actually find yourself boo-ing (mildly) Atkinson and cheering on the mousey yet beautiful Leonidas. Dominic Burns the director went on to improve with Airborne but then got aspirations as a screenwriter and then directed the butt asteroid that was UFO. His efforts fall between the two here because there is enjoyment to be had. It all depends how forgiving you are.
5 out of 10 – Utterly derivative of better rom-coms but it does have a weird life of its own once you look behind the endless spunk jokes and delve into the rogues gallery of cameos supplied by a bunch of game name actors who wanted a bit of light fun. Also ex-Luton boy Colin Salmon accidentally submits the best performance of his weird career and of the whole film. Someone in the know, get Phillips to do more comedy!
SEE JOE PESCI’S II WILLY BELOW plus a review
WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?
- Simon Phillips: The Last Scout, Dystopia (TV), No Easy Days (TV), The Disappearance of Lenka Wood, He Who Dares 2, White Collar Hooligan 3, Shame The Devil, Hooligan Wars, Dangerous Mind of a Hooligan, He Who Dares, White Collar Hooligan 2, The Fall Of The Essex Boys, UFO (2013), The Rise and Fall Of a White Collar Hooligan, Strippers Vs. Werewolves, Airborne, The Reverend (2012), Ghosted, Kill Keith, Jack Falls, Risen, Jack Said, The Last Seven, Just For The Record, Jack Says, Cut
- Craig Conway: Estranged, Blood Shot, Scintilla, Detective Harrigan, Airborne, 7Lives, Four, Devil’s Playground, The Tournament, Doomsday
- Gemma Atkinson: Emmerdale (TV), Casualty (TV), The Dyatlov Pass Incident, Airborne, 13Hrs, Baseline, Hollyoaks (TV)
- Stephanie Leonidas: American Gothic (TV), Tomorrow (2017), Luna, uwantme2killhim?, Mirrormask
- Colin Salmon: London Has Fallen, Resident Evil 5, Shank, Exam, Stalker (2011), Just For The Record, Devil’s Playground, Clubbed, Blood – The Last Vampire, Punisher – War Zone, The Bank Job, Match Point, Resident Evil, Alien Vs. Predator, James Bond: The World Is Not Enough, James Bond – Tomorrow Never Dies, James Bond – Die Another Day, My Kingdom, Fanny and Elvis, The Wisdom Of Crocodiles, Captives
- Martin Compston: Hunter’s Prayer, Scottish Mussel, The Legend of Barney Thomson, Line of Duty (TV), Filth, The Wee Man, When The Lights Went Out, 7Lives, Strippers Vs. Werewolves,Four, Ghosted, Piggy, Soulboy, The Disappearance Of Alice Creed, Pimp, True North, The Damned Utd, Doomsday, Red Road, Tickets, Sweet Sixteen
- Dominic Burns: Allies (dir), UFO (2013), Airborne (2012), The Reverend (2012), Strippers Vs. Werewolves, Jack Falls, Jack Said, Cut
- Sheridan Smith: The Huntsman – Winter’s War, The C Word, Cilla (TV), The Harry Hill Movie, The Powder Room, Quartet, Hysteria, Tower Block
- Rita Ramnani: The Last Scout, A Dark Reflection, White Collar Hooligan 3, Abducted, He Who Dares, White Collar Hooligan 2, Strippers Vs. Werewolves, Airborne (2012), Rise and Fall Of a White Collar Hooligan, Jack Falls, Jack Said, Jack Says, The Last Seven, Just For The Record, Umbrage – The First Vampire
- Peter Barrett: Devil’s Tower, Shame The Devil, The Hooligan Factory, White Collar Hooligan 2, The Fall Of The Essex Boys, UFO (2013), GBH, The Rise and Fall Of a White Collar Hooligan, Airborne (2012), Ghosted, Jack Falls
- Martin Kemp: Assassin (2015), Top Dog (dir), Strippers Vs Werewolves, Stalker (2011)(dir), Jack Falls, Back In Business, Eastenders (TV), Paper Marriage, Daydream Believer, Wax Works 2, The Krays
- Neil Maskell: In Darkness, Bone In The Throat, Level Up, High-Rise, Hyena, Humans (TV), Open Windows, The Rise, Dates (TV), Utopia (TV), All Things To All Men, The ABCs of Death, Pusher (2012), St. George’s Day, Turnout, Piggy, Wild Bill (2012), Kill List, Ghosted, Jack Falls, Bonded By Blood, The Shouting Men, Doghouse, Rise Of The Footsoldier,It’s All Gone Pete Tong, The Football Factory
- Adele Silva: We Still Kill The Old Way, Strippers Vs Werewolves, Emmerdale (TV)
- Billy Murray: Rise of the Footsoldier 3, What’s The Score?, We Still Steal The Old Way, The Disappearance of Lenka Wood,Essex Boys Retribution, One In The Chamber, Rise and Fall Of The White Collar Hooligan, Airborne (2012), Strippers Vs. Werewolves, Stalker (2011), Dead Cert, Just For The Record, Doghouse, Rise Of The Footsoldier, Hell To Pay, Rollin With The Nines, Hell To Pay, Essex Boys, Eastenders (TV), The Bill (TV), McVicar
- Richard E. Grant: Their Finest, X-Men: Logan, Jackie, Downton Abbey (TV), Game of Thrones (TV), Dom Hemingway, About Time, The Iron Lady, Horrid Henry, Cuckoo, First Night, Love Hurts, Penelope, Garfield 2 (voice), Corpse Bride (voice), Wah-Wah (dir), Tooth, Bright Young Things, Gosford Park, The Little Vampire, The Match, Spice World, Food Of Love, Keep The Aspidistra Flying, The Serpent’s Kiss, Twelfth Night (1996), The Portrait of a Lady, Jack & Sarah, Pret-a-Porter, The Age Of Innocence, Dracula (1992), The Player, Hudson Hawk, LA Story, Henry & June, Mountains Of The Moon, Warlock, How To Get Ahead In Advertising, Hidden City, Withnail & I