How to Be Single Movie Review
How to Be Single is meant to answer the question, “How do you be single in a world with ever-evolving definitions of love?” but really, it simply addresses something we’ve all wanted to know: what happens when you put Pitch Perfect’s Fat Amy and Fifty Shades of Grey’s Anastasia Steele in a movie together.
The result is about what you’d expect: an uneven though somewhat entertaining flick that can’t decide whether it wants to be a straight-up comedy or some kind of ensemble drama, one that thrives on Rebel Wilson’s [admittedly one-note] ridiculousness and not much else.
Dakota Johnson is fine as Alice, a non-virgin who is virginal only when it comes to being single. Leave it to her friend Robin (Wilson) to show her how to get drunk and be slutty. Meanwhile, Alice’s older sister (Leslie Mann), the local bartender and ladies’ man (Anders Holm) and his awkwardly hot customer (Alison Brie) all struggle with what they want out of life.
How to Be Single is from the writers of the fine-but-forgettable The Vow, the dreadfully awful Couples Retreat and What Happens in Vegas and, perhaps most fittingly, the how-to guide on figuring out whether somebody is actually into you (He’s Just Not That Into You), which really sets the bar for what you should expect:
How to Be Single is okay, but instantly forgettable.
The ensemble cast is decent, though they’re not exactly given award-winning material to work with. Even though it’s nearly two hours long, the movie operates at a fast enough pace and presents some entertaining characters. Mann is good as always, while Holm and Brie are underutilized. Wilson is the funniest part of the movie and the character who has the best chance of being remembered a year from now, though her shtick is basically Fat Amy five years later.
If anything, the movie, and audience, would have been better served had the filmmakers taken a less serious approach to the question they want to address; the answer is basically “find yourself before you find love”—a motivational poster can say the same thing a lot more effectively and with a lot less hassle than a two-hour movie. As a comedy, How to Be Single is hit or miss simply because the writers didn’t intend for it to go full-comedy… or if they did, they missed the mark (like they have with many of their other movies).
How to Be Single is a moderately entertaining little film about singles in New York, but in terms of movies about singles in New York, it brings very little new to the table. Watch it and you won’t hate it, skip it and you won’t miss much. As for me, Tinder worked just fine.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.