How To Be Single – Film Review by Emily Elphinstone
Director: Christian Ditter
Writers: Abby Kohn (screenplay), Marc Silverstein (screenplay)
Stars: Dakota Johnson, Rebel Wilson, Leslie Mann
In the classic Romantic Comedy format, women are eventually rescued from the perils of singledom, and they live happily ever after. Even last year’s apparently subversive Trainwreck, from the wonderful Amy Schumer, may have started out full of drinks, dancing, and casual sex; but wrapped up neatly with her finding the error of her ways, and settling down swiftly with a nice young man.
It’s refreshing then, that How To Be Single has slightly different priorities. Sure there are eligible young men around including ‘sexual sorbet’ Tom (Anders Holm), and hunky single father David (Damon Wayans Jr); but romances stay firmly as subplot in this female orientated film, which genuinely celebrates the single life.
The premise is a classic one, with Alice (a refreshingly likeable Dakota Johnson) going on a break with her college boyfriend Josh (Nicholas Braun), and moving to New York to ‘find herself’, complete with the inevitable taxi ride across Brooklyn bridge. There she meets fulltime party girl Robin (Rebel Wilson), who educates her in how to live the single life; including a hilarious montage of hangover recovery. To bring this up to a quartet we have Alice’s older sister Meg (the ever wonderful Leslie Mann) who finds her priorities changing; and husband hunter Lucy (Alison Brie) who has everything but the groom picked out for her wedding.
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves; this isn’t an entirely genre-breaking film. It is worth watching just for the costumes and enviable apartments, and yet work seems to be optional much of the time; and there is some over use of the moral-heavy narration. However, the screenplay (by Abby Kohn, Marc Silverstein, and Dana Fox) is full of witty and original dialogue and one liners. Refreshingly there are no cheap references to weight or race, and the men are just as inclined to get overly attached, or to make mistakes, as the women. Sadly Rebel Wilson is in danger of becoming a one trick pony, with a largely one dimensional character; but Johnson is excellent in the central role, and the relationship between Alice and her sister is one of the most heartwarming of the film. Most notably, the final dash across the city is for friendship rather than romance; and the final realization is that solitude can be celebrated as much as company. How To Be Single may still be firmly in the rom-com camp; but, just for a change, we are finally shown that romance isn’t the only relationship worth considering.