How to Be Single
Film Review by Kam Williams
Newcomer Samples Manhattan Singles Scene in Raunchy Romantic Comedy
When Alice (Dakota Johnson) graduated from college, it would have been very easy for her to settle down with her college sweetheart of four years. After all, Josh (Nicholas Braun) was not only a nice guy with a promising future but very eager to marry and start a family.
However, since she’d never really dated anyone else, Alice wanted to test the waters before making such big a commitment. So, she ended the relationship and moved clear across the country to New York City to live with her elder sister, Meg (Leslie Mann), an obstetrician who hears her biological clock ticking.
Alice lands a job as a paralegal at a big law firm where she makes fast friends with a flamboyant co-worker (Rebel Wilson) eager to show her the ropes both around the office and the Manhattan dating scene. Despite a Rubenesque figure, Robin exudes an enviable confidence that the relatively-modest Alice ostensibly admires.
After hours, the two descend upon a trendy meat market, where Alice catches the eye of a handsome bartender (Anders Holm). Against her better judgment, she impulsively agrees to a one-night stand with the stranger, only to find it not to her liking.
Worse, the disaster has her pining for Josh who has no interest in reconciling. That means Alice must continue to negotiate her way around the gauntlet of a strange new world where she can’t quite get her footing.
Thus unfolds How to Be Single, a raunchy romantic comedy directed by Christian Ditter (Love, Rosie). The movie is very loosely based on Liz Tuccillo’s 2008 best-seller of the same name which revolved around a 38 year-old heroine instead of one in her early twenties.
Dakota Johnson exhibits an endearing mix of sensuality and vulnerability as the naive newcomer looking for love in all the wrong places. And her character’s plight is playfully juxtaposed against that of her sister who is so desperate to get pregnant that she’s willing to visit a fertility clinic.
Alice has to kiss a lot of frogs before finally finding a prince in David (Damon Wayans, Jr.). Too bad the wealthy real estate developer is a still-grieving widower with a young daughter (Zani Jones Mbayise) to raise.
I suspect Millennials might more readily relate to the frenetically-paced hookup culture captured onscreen than us old fogeys. Nevertheless, the irreverent brand of humor has a universal appeal, provided the over-the-top antics of shameless, scene stealer Rebel Wilson suits your taste.
An utterly unfiltered salute to the Age of Indiscretion.
Excellent (4 stars)
Rated R for sexuality and pervasive profanity
Running time: 110 minutes
Distributor: Warner Brothers Pictures