“How to Be Single”

LOUISA:  4 STARS    MATT:   2 STARS


LOUISA SAYS:

As a female, I responded very well to “How to Be Single.” Most of us have either been in similar situations portrayed in the movie or we’ve sat beside our girlfriends when they’ve found themselves in comparable positions.

The women-centric humor makes this more of a “girls’ night out” movie than a “date night” movie. That’s not to say that men won’t find things to enjoy here, but I think if you’re a girl you’ll find a little extra delight in the story and characters.

I loved how the film treats its leads with respect: Rebel Wilson (Robin) thankfully isn’t the butt of fatty jokes and Dakota Johnson is perfect as normal, average, everyday girl Alice (no fake movie star good looks). It was completely believable that these two would be fast friends. Throw in a charming turn from Alison Brie (Lucy) and the always charismatic Leslie Mann (Meg) and you have a recipe for success. Men are well represented and surprisingly well written too, something you don’t often see in such a gal-pal movie. Damon Wayans Jr. (David) and Anders Holm (Tom) give convincing performances as dudes with issues that (mostly) felt authentic — let’s forget the plumbing joke, shall we?

Best of all, this movie is funny! While Rebel steals the show as usual, there were times when I had to cover my mouth in the theater because I couldn’t stop laughing. Judging by my fellow female audience members, the humor was a slam dunk with them too.

It was a little off-putting that most of the women in the film were adamant that they didn’t need a man to be happy, yet they still spend the entire film in pursuit of one. But that’s okay. In the end, what’s not to like about an overall message of friendship, finding your way, and owning your sexuality?

There are a few too many subplots and storylines with characters who get left by the wayside, but that often happens with movies that are based on novels (like this one by Liz Tuccillo). Despite its minor flaws, this is still an enjoyable and very funny film.

MATT SAYS:

I am not part of the target audience for this film. If you have more than one X chromosome you may want to stop reading right now. This review is for the men out there who may be dragged to see this movie.

Okay, that last sentence sounds a little harsh, and unfairly so. “How to Be Single” was not written or made for me. As suggested by the title, this movie isn’t really about male-female relationships. Yes, there are some that develop over the movie, but those are not the primary focus.

It’s not really a romantic comedy; it’s more of a straight-up comedy that was made for women. And based on the reaction of the women in the audience when I saw it, it worked very well for them. There just isn’t much here that a man can relate to.

While the story wasn’t compelling for me, there are a few things I really liked about it: first, the message of the movie – that you don’t need to be in a relationship to be a complete person, and that it’s better to be comfortable being single than stuck with someone who is incompatible with you just because you’re scared of being alone. Second, I liked how Rebel Wilson’s character isn’t defined by her size, and there weren’t any fat jokes or jokes at her expense — unlike the “Pitch Perfect” movies, which consistently make mean-spirited jokes about her size. Third, I liked the relationships between the women, which seemed natural and fully-formed. Finally, I liked its progressive views towards male/female relationships. Paradoxically, the movie repeatedly made the backwardly conservative suggestion that a woman needs children to be complete – which bugged the hell out of me.

“How to Be Single” is a perfect movie for a girl’s night out. If you’re looking for a date movie, you’d be better off choosing something different.

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