REVIEW: How to be Single (2016)

Theatrical Release Poster - Warner Bros.
Theatrical Release Poster – Warner Bros.

The following is a review of How to be Single – Directed by Christian Ditter.

How to be Single tries to tell multiple stories about single life from the perspectives of three women. Alice (played by Dakota Johnson) who struggles with her new status as a single woman after breaking up with her boyfriend. Alice’s wild co-worker Robin (played by Rebel Wilson). And, finally, Meg (played by Leslie Mann) – an OB/GYN – who is happy being alone, until she one day falls in love with the idea of having a baby.

It’s tough to hate this movie. I know, I know, that’s not exactly the praise one might be looking for, but that may be the best thing I have to say about the movie. The issues that I have with this movie did irritate me in the moment, but How to be Single is just made to be watched on a night out with your single friends on Valentine’s Day.

Therefore it’s not really all that memorable or, if I’m being honest, important. I think the word I’m looking for is ‘harmless.’ It’s way too forgettable to provoke or harm anyone. And there are some good things about the movie. For example, I thought Jake Lacy was really charming as Meg’s love interest.

I really liked how Damon Wayans, Jr.’s character was designed, even if his character was insignificant. I also think there was a lot of potential to Alice and Robin’s relationship, even if their story wasn’t executed in a satisfying way, in my opinion. But all the potential in the world can’t save this movie from itself.

You don’t become invested in the characters or their relationships when your movie is as overcrowded as How to be Single is. If you’d have removed two or three characters from the story, and focused it on Alice and Robin, then it could’ve worked much better.

I’m a big fan of Community, and I love Alison Brie in that show, so it really annoyed me that her character was the one character that definitely didn’t need to be in the movie at all. Brie doesn’t do a bad job here, but you simply don’t care about her when she doesn’t need to be in the movie. The one character that made me consider not writing that this movie is harmless is Anders Holm’s Tom who is wildly unlikable. But he’s just one of the many forgettable characters that I don’t think needs to be in the movie.

How to be Single tried really hard to be a fun ‘girls night’ kind of movie in the vein of Sex and the City mixed with a little bit of HBO’s Girls. I’m just not sure the filmmakers knew exactly how to do that with this movie. How to be Single is forgettable, slightly predictable, and overcrowded. It’s entirely harmless but it doesn’t work.

5 out of 10

– Jeffrey Rex

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