How To Be Single (2016)

How To Be Single Poster.jpg
Single White Females

Director: Christian Ditter
Running Time: 110 Minutes
Starring: Dakota Johnson, Rebel Wilson, Leslie Mann, Alison Brie, Nicholas Braun, Jake Lacy, Damon Wayans, Jr, Jason Mantzoukas, Anders Holm

The most notable aspect of Christian Ditter's film lies in its depiction of single life. From text etiquette to personal grooming, the ins and outs are detailed in a decent manner that feels somewhat relatable. Refreshingly, single life isn't looked at through a judgemental lens, but a lifestyle as acceptable as being in a couple. It's aspects like this which helps the film attempt to stand out in the genre.

In an attempt to find who she is outside of a relationship, Alice (Dakota Johnson) goes on a break from her boyfriend, moving to New York as a paralegal. She befriends co-worker Robin (Rebel Wilson), who happily embraces the single lifestyle as wildly as possible, and proceeds to show Alice the ropes of single life. Meg (Leslie Mann), older sister to Alice, decides to have a child through a sperm donor, only to start dating Ken (Jake Lacy). Lucy (Alison Brie) looks for the perfect guy, as she wishes to get married.

There's decent chemistry occurring between the leads, managing to show their friendship in a believable manner. Dakota Johnson brings the charm and likeability which made her one of the few bright parts of Fifty Shades of Grey. She especially shares a lovely sisterly bond with the wonderful Leslie Mann, who you'll be rooting to get together with the adorable Jake Lacy. Your enjoyment of Rebel Wilson will depend on whether you find her charming, or intolerable.

For a film that tries to stand out from other romance flicks, it's unfortunate how it leans towards the clichés a bit much, and results in some mixed messages floating around. As talented as Alison Brie is, the actress is wasted playing a character disjointed from the rest of the picture. It's clear the film would've been stronger through cutting her character entirely, as despite what the poster shows, she never shares a scene with the other leading ladies. Plus, the jokes tend to be rather hit and miss, which is especially true where Rebel Wilson is concerned.

Director Christian Ditter fails to keep a decent grip on the pacing, leaving its uneven nature to be glaring. The promise of a new relationship between Alice and David (Damon Wayans, Jr) is followed by a time jump, with the relationship left broken in as rushed a manner as it was formed. The reasons given aren't satisfying, as the mantra of "show, don't tell" would've been of great help. Not helpful is how a happy montage comes after this piece of heartbreak, appears at a rapid enough speed to leave viewers with whiplash.

What material lies in How To Be Single doesn't make it stand apart from the conventional genre entries, but it's a start. A stronger film lies within, it's just obscured by a character who can't justify their inclusion, an uneven handling and a script that leans towards the clichés a bit too much.