How to Be Single Review

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The dating game has changed significantly for millennials. Romantic comedies haven’t really caught up with the changing times. When most romantic comedies rush towards a happy ending, it fails to show the painful struggles of getting there. That’s what Christian Ditter’s How to Be Single is trying to change. But the film a good change for the genre or is it a failed attempt to change up the romantic comedy formula?

Although the film’s comedy is uneven at times, How to Be Single is a nice change from your run-of-the-mill romantic comedies. It’s a charming, touching, and relatable film that pleasantly works in surprising ways.

How to Be Single follows Alice (Dakota Johnson), a recent college grad, who decides to “take a break” from her long-time boyfriend in order to find out who she really is. Once in New York, Alice is joined by a variety of people including her best friend Robin (Rebel Wilson) and her older sister, Meg (Leslie Mann).

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Director Christian Ditter moves the film along like a game of musical chairs. The relationships shuffle between characters, and they shuffle quite quickly. But the film benefits from its endearing way of truthfully showcasing the various angles of modern relationships. It’s also quite successful when it veers away from the predictable.

However, it’s not quite clear as the timeframe that the film takes place but my guess is that the film spans about a year. In that timeframe, the film covers all ends of the dating spectrum through the handful of characters in the film. It’s because of this that the film suffers from a mixture of many storylines thus losing track of the narrative several times.

But the focus of the film revolves around Alice and Johnson has shown here that she can successfully carry the film by herself. Johnson is quite adept at portraying a warm, endearing, and most importantly, relatable character. Every emotion and comedic timing come quite naturally for her. Leslie Mann is also very solid as Johnson’s older sister, Meg. The chemistry between Leslie Mann and Jake Levy is phenomenal. Their interactions with each other are some of the comedic highlights of the film. Rebel Wilson shows the same boisterous energy in Single as she does in both Pitch Perfect films. Unfortunately, lost in the mix is the lovable Alison Brie, whose character seems to be set aside to focus on the other leads. In the end, we’re still not quite sure where Brie fits into the overall story arc.

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The male leads do a great job playing their respective characters. Anders Holm is likable as the film’s male lead and bachelor extraordinaire. Damon Wayans, Jr. also has a surprisingly deep storyline, but his character seems out of place compared to the rest. Jason Mantzoukas, much like his character on FX’s “The League,” is very funny and enjoyable to watch. Nicholas Braun also services as a good-natured counterpart to Alice as her ex-boyfriend, Josh.

Overall, How to Be Single is a step in the right direction for romantic comedies. It teaches you how to be yourself, being comfortable with yourself, and figuring out where you belong in this mad, crazy world. Although judicious editing would’ve helped consolidate the storylines together, Single’s vivid and relatable characters are engaging enough to stay invested in the film. Although the title sounds like a manual to being single, it’s actually a film that embraces the fact that while it’s nice to be in a relationship, it’s just as nice to be single too. It’s definitely a good film to watch for those seeking a romantic comedy this Valentine’s Day weekend.

Rating: 3/5 atoms
NR 3 Atoms - C

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