Directed by Christian Ditter, How to be Single is a romantic comedy that follows single people trying to adjust to the ever changing world of love in NYC. Alice (Dakota Johnson) is the focal point of the story who decides it’s time to take a break from her current relationship as she graduates college, but the film also follows free-spirited Manhattanite Robin (Rebel Wilson), Lucy (Alison Brie), Alice’s older and successful sister Meg (Leslie Mann), bar owner Tom (Anders Holm) and widower David (Damon Wayans Jr.), all of whom are connected in some way. What was advertised and disguised as a comedic romp, How to be Single is actually one of those Garry Marshall holiday films (Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Eve) but for the dating game and with a B-list cast. There are some great messages about finding yourself, acting on what you want rather than what others may want, and not succumbing to the social norms of dating, but it takes a long time to actually reach that point. Instead, many viewers, especially those who aren’t particularly fond of cheesy romance, will end up feeling frustrated with the character and story in between moments of humor. How to Be Single is funny, at times charming, and, on occasion, can be enjoyable for both genders but, for the most part, this movie was made for women. It’s possible I would have enjoyed it more if Dakota Johnson wasn’t the lead. I had recently watched Fifty Shades of Grey and it made me hate everyone that was a part of it. I imagine that hatred spewed over into this film but I was reassured that it was warranted when my girlfriend turned to me 15 minutes into the film and said that she already didn’t like Alice. Why, you ask? Because she threw out a great love for a temporary singles experiment. How often does that go well? What I found to be the most memorable part of the film, outside of the solid soundtrack, was when Alice moved out of her sister’s apartment into a great spot in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and then the way she refurnished the place. It really would have helped to know what kind of background she had because unless she came into a ton of money, which didn’t come from working as a paralegal, there’s no way in hell her apartment could look that nice, let alone afford that location this day and age. Naturally, this isn’t a positive memorable moment. I need a little more backstory here people, I just can’t instinctively believe it, especially when I’m familiar with living in this city. If I had to choose, my favorite dynamic in the film was the relationship between Ken (Jake Lacy) and Meg. Their relationship was very funny, a bit unconventional, and full of so much wit that it was hard not to laugh and love them both. Too bad they’re not the focal point of the story, or at least Ken isn’t, I would have enjoyed seeing more Ken/Meg action and how that story progresses, it could have been a standalone film. Overall, How to Be Single can be a fun movie for the ladies over this President’s Day weekend. It’s probably a decent alternative to Deadpool if you’re looking for mindless romantic fun but, if you’re looking for a story that you haven’t seen before or something where you don’t want to be frustrated with the story arcs of every character, then you’re better off finding another movie to watch. Better yet, watch Deadpool, that film’s got a great love story and feels so much more realistic than anything that happens in this one.
Movie Review: ‘How to Be Single’