‘How to Be Single’ keeps it real
(from FrolicHawaii.com 2/12/16 – Amanda Stevens)
Finally, a fresh and fun take on what it’s really like to be single.
“How to Be Single” follows the lives of four women in various stages of singledom. Recent college graduate Alice, played by Dakota Johnson, breaks up with her nice but safe longtime boyfriend so they can spend some time as “unattached adults” before making a lifetime commitment.
She then moves to New York, meets wild child Robin (Rebel Wilson) and gets schooled on how to be single. Lesson one: Never pay for drinks. Lesson two: Wait four hours before returning a guy’s text, and when you do, never use an emoji. You get the picture. Unfortunately, Wilson’s script is overloaded with one-liners that are much too reminiscent of her Fat Amy character in “Pitch Perfect” flicks.
In an effort to dive into her newfound singleness, Alice meets Tom (Anders Holm), the unapologetic man-slut/bartender with a heart, and in between random make-out sessions, they actually have some cathartic conversations about casual dating.
Two other characters emerge as fresh female archetypes. Alice’s overachieving sister Meg (Leslie Mann), an ob-gyn who has been too busy delivering babies to date, realizes that now in her forties she wants a child. Mann nails her character and portrays Meg with heart, raw honesty and vulnerability.
Obsessed with the online dating scene, Lucy (Alison Brie) manifests awkward moments in an honest tone, going beyond the typical lonely heart cliche character. Remember bartender Tom? Watch for the moment in another scene where he comes to her rescue. Classic!
I appreciate how Christian Ditter brought refreshing, likable male characters to life instead of relying on the formulaic jerks usually depicted in today’s rom-coms. Damon Wayans Jr. plays successful single dad David, who meets Alice at a mixer. Although Wayans doesn’t get a ton of screen time, his character has depth and gives the audience a real snapshot of what it’s like to be a single parent raising his daughter alone.
At the end, Robin gets real and puts Alice in her place, making for a redeeming moment for Wilson’s character beyond her typical lewd one-liners.
Truth be told, it’s really about those honest little moments of what it’s like to live alone – not knowing how to reset your cable box, sleeping in the middle of the bed instead of “your side,” and learning how to zip your own dress (no joke, that takes talent).