Sunday, February 28, 2016

Movie Review #385: "How to Be Single" (2016)

Movie"How to Be Single"
Ticket Price: $9.75
Director: Christian Ditter
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 50 minutes
Image Source
After spending her four years of college in a relationship, Alice (Dakota Johnson) wants to take a break from her boyfriend Josh (Nicholas Braun) and be single for a while so she can find herself. At her new job, she befriends Robin (Rebel Wilson), a woman who loves to party and is all about the single lifestyle. Meanwhile, Alice's sister Meg (Leslie Mann) decides she wants to become a mother, despite being single and a doctor with a hectic schedule. Also, a woman named Lucy (Allison Brie) runs an algorithm on dating sites to find the perfect future husband.

When we heard about "How to Be Single," we were looking forward to finally seeing a film filled with strong female characters who want to be independent and have fun as single ladies. However, that's not actually what "How to Be Single" is all about. What we get here is a film primarily about four women, the majority of which are trying to find a man in some capacity.

The primary focus of the film is on Alice, played by Dakota Johnson, a young college graduate who has just broken up with her long-term boyfriend so she can find herself. However, most of Alice's time on screen is spent talking about men, talking to men, or talking about relationships. Whether she meets a new guy and has the possibility of starting a new romance, or whether she's trying to decide whether or not to get back together with her ex-boyfriend Josh, played by Nicholas Braun, or whether she thinks she should have a one night stand with the studly local bartender named Tom, played by Anders Holm, who is the love 'em and leave 'em type, Alice is almost constantly involved in or around men. She gets advice on how to be single from her coworker Robin, played by Rebel Wilson, who parties every night and leads a promiscuous lifestyle, though she's always so drunk, she can never remember the sex. Robin and Alice hit is off as friends very quickly, thrusting them into the bar/club/scene environment every chance they can. Alice's older sister Meg, played Leslie Mann, is a very busy, career-oriented obstetrician, and though she's delivered thousands of babies, she has never wanted one herself...that is, until she spends one minute in a room alone with a patient's child. This is supposed to make Meg suddenly realize how much she actually wants a baby of her own because how dare Hollywood make a movie about a woman not actually wanting to have kids! Nope, those responsible for this film think babies are just so damn cute and of course, as a woman, Meg naturally wants to have a kid so she can fulfill her socially expected role of being a mother. This is one cinematic trope we wish, so badly, could be done away with forever. There is also one other major female character with her own subplot, Lucy, played by Allison Brie, whose sole purpose is to find a potential husband based on the algorithm she created to find her perfect match, only she hasn't gotten that far because she's a stage five clinger and sends men running as soon as she reminds them they are actually in a relationship together. So, just to recap, we have the crazy, neurotic clingy woman, the woman who immerses herself in her relationships, the woman who only parties and gets laid but has no emotional attachments to anyone, and the woman who didn't know she wanted a baby until she spend 20 seconds alone with a baby. No, no stereotypes here!

Being a comedy, we were obviously hoping to laugh a lot, but unfortunately, on top of containing nearly every genre-related trope in existence, most the jokes fall completely flat. We did laugh a couple of times, mostly at jokes delivered by Jason Mantzoukas, who plays George. George has a pretty funny exchange with Tom towards the end of the film, and this is the single most hilarious scene in the entire movie. Also Jake Lacy, who plays Ken, the much younger love interest of Meg, has a likable and humorous charm. Lacy has been in many hit or miss movies, but he's always been the best parts of those films for us. Rebel Wilson, we're sad to say, has reached her expiry date with us. She attempts her fair share of jokes, but they miss their mark nearly every time as her shtick is more than a little tired. She needs to do something different. Dakota Johnson plays her typical doe-eyed romantic, surprisingly reminiscent of her role in "Fifty Shades of Grey," but without all of the S&M, nudity, and a far less controlling boyfriend. She also brings more of her annoying laugh-giggle to the table, which is supremely grating on the ears.

Apparently, there's a right way to be single, and a wrong way to be single, but after seeing "How to Be Single," we're still not sure the right message is getting across to audiences everywhere. This is not a new type of film, but rather the same old thing masquerading as something different. The pacing is dreadful, and there were many times we felt flat out bored. Also, if you watch this one, notice how all the most hilarious jokes and exchanges go to the male characters. It should be a crime to have all the painfully unfunny jokes in a movie featuring 4 female leads going to the women. The bottom line is we went in hoping for something fun and hilarious and left the theater realizing there was little fun to be had. Skip this one.

My Rating: 4/10
BigJ's Rating: 4/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.3/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 50%
Do we recommend this movie: No.
One year ago, we were watching: "Focus"

No comments:

Post a Comment