Posted February 25, 2016
By SAMANTHA COHEN
“How to Be Single” attempts to be another funny, cute anti-romantic comedy but it doesn’t quite achieve its goal with its lackluster and messy storyline.
The clear message being that singlehood at all ages should be embraced, not pitied. However, the storyline is scattered and unfocused, with characters that are not worth engaging.
The narrative center is on Alice (Dakota Johnson), who is fresh out of college and a four-year relationship. She decides to break up with her long-term college boyfriend played by Nicholas Braun, in order to find herself and see what it’s like to be single before committing for the rest of her life. “I’ve never been alone,” Alice says to her soon to be ex.
Just like every other rom-com, she moves to New York City in search of adventure and love. But throughout the film we see her regret her decision hoping to get with her ex.
She gets a job as a paralegal at a law firm where she meets her new coworker/ best friend, Robin (Rebel Wilson) who shows her the ropes of how to be single. “Let me teach you how to be single,” Robin says. Throughout the film they are a dynamic duo drinking and dating trying to navigate through singlehood without giving in to societies views on it being shameful and humiliating.
Opposite of the fun, crazy Robin is Alice’s older sister Meg (Leslie Mann) a successful OB/GYN who says she is content with putting her career first over children. But she then decides to have a baby by artificial insemination. After becoming pregnant, Meg meets Ken (Jake Lacy) a much younger guy who is sweet and funny, but clueless that she is in fact pregnant.
Out of all four women, the Lucy (Alison Brie) character has little purpose to the plot as a whole. She has no connection with the rest of the film’s female leads. Lucy spends her days and nights in a bar searching online dating sites in hopes of finding the perfect partner that matches her carefully thought out algorithm. It’s cliché that she continues to date jerks, unaware that her perfect match is actually right in front of her. Her friendly, neighborhood, bartender Tom (Anders Holm).
Throughout the film, we see Alice go through three different and unique relationships. She starts out her single life embarrassingly awkward. The first guy she meets out, as a single woman is Tom a commitment-phobic bartender who gives her even more rules on staying single. Alice then moves on to a subplot involving a grieving widowed businessman (Damon Wayans Jr.). This relationship lacked substance and ended quicker than it started. Throughout the entire movie we saw Alice continue to think about her ex-boyfriend Josh and her never-ending wish to get back with him.
The story is loosely based on the 2009 novel “How to be Single” by Liz Tuccillo, who was a writer and story editor on the original HBO series “Sex and the City” and who co-wrote the book “He’s Just Not That Into You.” This movie could be viewed as a second version of the highly acclaimed HBO series “Sex and the City” filled with storylines about the single life and trying to find the “One.”
Wilson as expected is a burst of energy. Playing her hilarious sidekick character mirrors her performance in “Pitch Perfect.” Whenever she was on screen she always offered some great laughs but her screen time decreased as the movie progressed. Her character stayed out and got drunk till dawn and then falls into the waiting arms of any guy ready and willing. She is the comedic relief to this lackluster film.
Director Christian Ditter did not fully capture the energy and true essence and attitude of New York City. Most of the scenes were in the same locations and storytelling never truly ventured out.
”How to Be Single” is not particular hilarious. Although the women’s daily relationship battles are relatable, it was not worth watching for 110 minutes. The whole storyline of characters is a confusing mixed ensemble that doesn’t quite fit together. Although the scenes led up to Alice and the rest of the girls happy whether that is single or in a relationship, it never transcends into anything special.
RATING: 2 stars out of a 4 star rating
- “How to Be Single”
- Story by: Liz Tuccillo
- Starring: Dakota Johnson, Alison Brie, Leslie Mann, Rebel Wilson
- Release Date: Feb. 12, 2016
- 110 minutes
- Director: Christian Ditter
- Rating R