film reel image

film reel image

Monday, February 15, 2016

How to Be Single 2016 * * Stars

How to Be SingleDirector: Christian Ditter
Year: 2016
Rated R
Rating: * * Stars
Cast: Dakota Johnson, Rebel Wilson, Alison Brie, Leslie Mann

2016's How to Be Single (my latest review) takes place in New York City. Unless you've been living in an igloo somewhere, you'd know that it's the biggest hub in the whole United States (8 million denizens and counting). Somehow though, every character in "Single" seems to coincidentally run into each other as if it's the town of Mayberry. The Big Apple contains five boroughs, hundreds of neighborhoods, and almost 500 square miles. Small world? I don't think so.

Anyway, despite featuring a comic force of nature in Rebel Wilson, marginally attractive actors/actresses, and a look of NYC that is as glistening as ever, How to Be Single is a directionless romcom. It's the type of vehicle that requires a tacked-on, concluding narration device just to let you know what's really going on. Oh and by the way, this film has a made-up notion of a drinking hookup rule (the number of alcoholic beverages a man and a woman would have to consume before they fall into bed together). Total ludicrousness!

At a running time of just under 2 hours and penned by three screenwriters, "Single" uses tactics that other (general) flicks have presented over the past few years (visible text messaging, tired d*ck jokes, droll fast cutting). As buffoonery, it's a pre-Valentine's Day release that's a legend in its own mind or should I say, an unknown director's catacomb that marches to the beat of its own drum. The story is as follows: Alice (Dakota Johnson) is a career woman who dumps her college boyfriend so that she can find herself as a young adult. She moves in with her sister (Leslie Mann as Meg), finds a job as a paralegal, and bar hops with her party girl/co-worker named Robin (Rebel Wilson). Over periods of fast-forwarding (fall season, Xmas, St. Patrick's Day), Alice runs into ex-boyfriends, has a one night stand or two, and eventually decides that she's better off not being in any kind of relationship at all. Johnson isn't much of an acting juggernaut but she's darn adorable. I'm no casting agent but I feel she's still pretty much perfect for her role.

By hook or by crook, How to Be Single is R-rated, has the obligatory bad language, and contains the required, flask notions of innuendo. However, I was surprised at how non-juvenile it was compared to most raunchy comedies. The filmmakers and everyone else involved really wanted to say something. Too bad the proceedings get drowned in a vat of drunkenness, casual sex, self-prophesied female starlets, and douche-like, male characters (Anders Holm as a womanizing bartender and Nicholas Braun as a manipulative suitor). Disappointing. Rating: 2 stars.

Of note: Hallmark's favorite holiday has passed but I still think every guy should avoid taking a date to see "Single". With its demoralizing of women just looking for Mr. Right, you as gentlemanly John Doe might be cursed by your sweetie or relegated, significant other. All strapping males have been warned.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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