How To Be Single: Film Review
Cast: Dakota Johnson, Rebel Wilson, Leslie Mann, Alison Brie
Director: Christian Ditter
Here we go, another NYC set rom com where a group of single ladies navigate the scene with mixed and apparently hilarious results.
Based on Liz Tuccillo's novel of the same name, How To Be Single follows 50 Shades of Grey star Dakota Johnson's Alice who dumps her college boyfriend of four years so she can see what life as a singleton is like.
Working as a paralegal in a firm, she makes friends with Rebel Wilson's Robin, who parties most of the night and encourages her to play the field. But as she does so, she finds herself falling into more relationships than she desires and dealing with the fallout from them.
How To Be Single is frankly a mess.
Despite its intentions to be different and its desire to present women as needing no men in their lives to get by, the film hits every rom-com cliche and feels so generic that it fails to stand out from the crowd as it plays out.
While Johnson does the best she can with her relatively two dimensional character, she's the only one to fare reasonably by the script, which seems determined to put the women back in relationships, rather than explore their single-ladies-ness.
Rebel Wilson exists only to be the party-hard blow hard (in fact, her introduction in the piece feels like the writers took the club sequence of her sitcom Super Fun Night and re-purposed it) and despite attempts to beef her up at the end with some back-story, she's nothing more than a cypher. Equally Mann's workaholic OB-GYN nurse who decides she wants a baby ends up as nothing more than a kooky crazy unable to express her feelings. Worst of all is Alison Brie, who ends up shoe-horned into proceedings, never appears to gel with the rest of the group and whose OCD to use computers to find the perfect match and explodes when things don't go well would normally see her prescribed some kind of medication, but is here exploited for laughs (cause we all have a crazed friend, right, ladies?).
Occasionally the script makes nods to pop culture (both Sex and the City and Ross' desire to take a break are the best throwaway lines) but How To Be Single aspires to be nothing more than chick kryptonite as it exploits its NYC tourism spots and its protagonists' propensity for kookiness.
While ladies on a night out may get something out of this film, How To Be Single serves only low hanging fruit and offers the pantheon of rom-coms nothing new, preferring to proffer up cliches and patchily painful moments.