Review: How To Be Single
Single ladies, grab your gal pals and run to the movie theatres this weekend because there’s finally a Valentine’s Day cinematic treat for you and it’s called How to be Single. Eschewing from tried and true romcom conventions in favor of girls on screen who “just wanna have fun” is a welcome modernist addition to the multiplexes.
Six years since the last Sex and the City film graced the screen (and twelve years since its last episode aired on TV, which, let’s face it, is how most of us want to remember the show), there’s a new young and hip, twentysomething quartet of ladies showing audiences how to navigate the often confusing whirlwind of self-discovery in New York City. One of the many joys of the film is that much of its narrative feels universally relatable to women, no matter where they may have lived out their twenties. Who hasn’t contorted their bodies and hopped around their rooms trying desperately to unzip the back zipper from their dress after a long night out?! Who hasn’t shamefully yet repeatedly (and drunkenly) gone and slept with the commitment phobic guy (albeit great in bed and charming) because it provided comfort at the time?! This Isn’t a confessional digression but merely a way of pointing out that at the screening we attended, a large portion of the audience saw themselves and snippets of their own lives in at least one of the leading ladies of How to be Single‘s narrative threads.
There’s brash, rowdy and raunchy Robin (Rebel Wilson) who one might easily label the “Samantha” of the film. She drinks, parties, and hooks up with random strangers every chance she gets. Next there’s Lucy (Alison Brie), a type A young lady determined to snag a husband (very much the “Charlotte”). There’s Meg (Leslie Mann), an obstetrician who resolutely wants to remain single, even after deciding to become pregnant through in vitro fertilization (yes, the “Miranda”). Her sister Alice (Dakota Johnson, quickly becoming the poster girl for February “chick flicks”, following last year’s 50 Shades of Grey) is the fulcrum of the narratives, as she is the one who most of all needs to learn “how to be single”. The men in the film (respectively played by Anders Holm, Nicholas Braun, Jake Lacy, Jason Mantzoukas and Damon Wayans Jr.) are, refreshingly, and gamely, merely accessories to the ladies in their individual quests for personal enlightenment.
Very loosely based on the novel by Liz Tuccillo (who was also a story editor on Sex and the City, coincidentally enough), the screenplay by He’s Just Not That Into You scribes Marc Silverstein and Abby Kohn, as well as Dana Fox, needed an edit as the film sometimes feels like it’s juggling too many storylines at once. That being said, one never grows tired of watching the charming and magnetic heroines perfectly capture the essence of how to be single.