Apparently, I’m doing it all wrong. Then again, I’m not really sure what the takeaway is supposed to be for this movie. I just hope it doesn’t reel in the underage crowd hoping to see Rebel Wilson reprise her role from (the PG-13 rated) Pitch Perfect 2. How to Be Single is rated R. And the ‘R’ isn’t for romance. The movie is about hook-ups, misguided attempts to find a love connection, friendship, online algorithms, a few intangibles, a lot of sex and alcohol jokes, and other stuff related to being single in the big city. It aims to be a romantic comedy but generally misses the mark. It’s actually kind of sad. But a lot of single gals will likely gather for a cosmo or two and flock to it anyway, and others might drag the boyfriends along. Happy Valentine’s Day!
The gist of the movie is this: Recent college grad Alice (Dakota Johnson, who looks distractingly similar to her Anastasia Steele character in 50 Shades of Grey but does manage to keep her clothes on a bit more often) decides to take a “break” from her long-time boyfriend. She moves to New York and takes a job as a paralegal. She befriends the law firm’s receptionist Robin (Rebel Wilson) who takes it upon herself to teach Alice how to make the most of the single lifestyle, which revolves primarily around drinks at the bar and one-night stands. Meantime, Alice’s sister Meg (Leslie Mann) is also in the plot mix as the ‘responsible’ one – a single young professional – an obstetrician no less – who decides she wants to have a baby, but not a relationship. She goes the sperm-donor route and of course immediately falls for a sympathetic doofus who has no idea she’s pregnant. I think I’ve seen that movie before… (i.e. The Back-Up Plan with Jennifer Lopez and Alex O’Loughlin).
How to Be Single aims to be seriously funny about being true to oneself regardless of relationship status, and it does have a few entertaining, and sometimes even poignant relatable moments and the acting is decent enough all-around. But the mish-mash of characters and sub-plots never quite gel, and the movie is ultimately forgettable, if not regrettable. A cinematic one-night stand. If asked to choose between How to Be Single and The Choice for a chick flick option this weekend, I think I’d recommend the latter, though neither is nearly as good as it could or should have been.