HOW TO BE SINGLE
MOVIE: ** (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: **1/2 (out of 5)
Dakota Johnson as ALICE
Rebel Wilson as ROBIN
Alison Brie as LUCY
Leslie Mann as MEG
Anders Holm as TOM
Nicholas Braun as JOSH
Damon Wayans Jr. as DAVID
Jake Lacy as KEN
Jason Mantzoukas as GEORGE
Studio: Warner Bros.
Directed by: Christian Ditter
BY KEVIN CARR
It’s probably not a big surprise, but I’m not the target market for a film like “How to Be Single.” I am, in fact, married… and I have been happily so for almost 20 years. I never did the sexual shell game in my twenties, and I’m perfectly content with my personal life as it has turned out.
Clearly, there are lots of people out there unlike me. In fact, if I am to believe my Facebook feed, there are entire legions of people out there in the twenties and thirties who are struggling with relationships – either being in them or being independent of them. How else can you explain the popularity of undateable-themed TV series like “New Girl,” “You’re the Worst” and of course “Undateable.”
So, it makes sense that I didn’t completely warm up to “How to Be Single” and how I couldn’t help but thinking while I was watching it that a more accurate title might be “How to Be Single and Get Chlamydia” or “How to Be Single and Possibly Get Date-Raped.”
The story follows several women at various points in their dating lives. The main character is April (Dakota Johnson) who breaks up with her college boyfriend to find herself as a person and learn to live as a single woman. She pals around with Robin (Rebel Wilson), a wild child and functioning alcoholic / drug addict who is only self-destructive in a light-comedy Hollywood sort of way. Added to the mix is Meg (Leslie Mann), April’s older sister who is a successful gynecologist who wants nothing to do with relationships, and Lucy (Alison Brie), a dating app designer who can’t seem to land a guy herself.
These four women tear through New York City’s dating pool and face everything from one-night stands to planned in-vitro pregnancies. The movie is meant to subvert your typical romantic comedy the way “He’s Just Not That Into You” and “Going the Distance,” but it gets in its own way when it tries to wrap everyone’s frantic dating life with a nice bow. Rather than being the anti-rom-com that it wants to be, it becomes exactly what it seems to rail against.
My other problem with the film is the often reprehensible – or at the very least wildly ill-conceived – behavior of the characters. April abandoning a good relationship just to find herself is the height of narcissism… and this is how we are introduced to her character. Lucy’s meant-to-be-adorkable quirks get on my nerves as a cheap bid for laughs. Meg’s insistence that she doesn’t have time to devote to a boyfriend/husband relationship because she works all the time but thinks she’ll have the time and energy to actually raise a child is insulting to parents. And Robin’s outrageous behavior, while funny in the context of the movie, puts her on the road to an Amy Winehouse conclusion that would happen sometimes after the credits roll.
Still, for people in their twenties and thirties who want to party like an adolescent with no planned consequence, this can act as a rallying cry. It is a movie made for the Facebook generation who plasters their relationship status across social media and seeks solace in inspirational memes about knowing your self-worth and not letting toxic people into your life.
(Of course, by using “Ghostbusters” trailer logic, I now clearly hate women.)
The Blu-ray comes in a DVD combo pack and includes a digital copy of the film via Ultraviolet. There’s a handful of behind the scenes features that offer some decent insight into the making of the film. “The Pros and Cons of How to Be Single” looks at the good and the bad of the characters in the film. “Rebel Rabble: A Look at Rebel Wilson” examines the star’s approach to her character’s behavior. “The Best Idea Wins!: The Humor of How to Be Single” takes a look at the improv process and how writer Dana Fox was present on set to hone the script.
Additional features include about eight minutes of deleted scenes, a gag reel and a set of outtakes from Rebel Wilson’s moments.