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‘How To Be Single’ Fails to Live Up to Title


Reminiscent of He’s Just Not That Into You (2009) and Valentine’s Day (2010), How to Be Single is yet another rom-com that follows the lives of several young and attractive people trying to figure out that confusing thing called love. There’s the guy who just wants to sleep around, the girl who’s desperate for love, the partier who loves being single and prides herself on it, the successful and independent career woman, and the newly single girl just trying to find out who she is.

Rebel Wilson plays the quirky best friend Robin, notable for her healthy sexual appetite and her fun, responsibility-free attitude. Together with her bartender friend Tom (Anders Holm), Robin embarks on a mission to help Alice (Dakota Johnson) realize how fun single life can be. Meanwhile Alice’s big sister, Meg (Leslie Mann), is a workaholic doctor who always thought she was content alone but has a change of heart and decides to take on the role of caregiver.

Riddled with unnecessary time jumps that make the timeline hard to follow and the predictable characters, How to Be Single definitely has its weaknesses. Alice is adjusting to single life and goes through the obvious “I’m going to be alone forever with a million cats” phase, but that doesn’t last. The whole movie basically only shows how un-single Alice always is. Sure, the random hook-up and the stumbling home after a night of partying were seen through snapshots, but what the majority of the movie focuses on is how single people end up trying really hard not to be single, especially Alice.

The first hour and a half of the movie gives only a taste of what the title suggests. Alice starts the movie off strong with the burning question– “why do we tell our stories through relationships?”– but instead of standing apart from other rom-coms, the story is told almost exclusively through relationships. Instead of seeing a group of single ladies figuring out who they are, How to Be Single follows a few women trying their hardest not to be alone. Focusing on a series of failed relationships and running into exes, the movie doesn’t really start to deliver on showing Alice embracing single life for a majority of the movie. The rest of the ladies, excluding Robin, are scouring the city for some kind of companionship.

The supporting cast of all-star comedians is the highlight of the film. Rebel Wilson gives a hilariously raunchy performance and Leslie Mann shines as the “crazy” older woman. Damon Wayan Jr.’s character seems slightly random and underdeveloped, but despite that he manages to tug the heartstrings and invoke a chuckle here and there. Alison Brie of Community fame and Anders Holm from Workaholics have adorable and engaging interactions that help drive home the movie’s subplot of being able to stand on your own.

While overall the movie has laugh out loud moments and a killer cast, it falls short of its intention to show off single life. Maybe the writers should have titled it How to Be Single-ish or How to be Sorta Kinda Almost Single.

Marra Ciuffetelli can be reached at

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