So, anyone dating Jake Lacy’s character in a movie/TV show has pretty much got it made. That much seems to be clear. But that 30-year-old hunk of walking rom-com perfection aside, it’s rough out there for a single gal.
And while the struggle of dating is often simply depicted in film as a drop dead gorgeous actress messing up her date by being too clumsy or doing an alarming amount of background checking, How To Be Single seems to actually have a handle on the plight of mid-twenty-something singledom.
The story follows Alice (Dakota Johnson) as she faces the New York City dating scene, after ending things with her college boyfriend Josh (Nicholas Braun), thinking she should be on her own for a bit before settling down for good.
She befriends Robin (Rebel Wilson), who has fully embraced her single status, and encourages her to enjoy the single life while she has the chance.
Alice finally indulges her, equipped with rules such as:
– Don’t respond to a text message without waiting at least four hours – and NEVER use emojis.
– Only move forward, never back (aka don’t hook up with the same person twice).
– Watch out for your drink number* when hanging out with friends you probably shouldn’t be sleeping with.
* The number of drinks it would take for you to be drunk enough that you would hook up with said person – Robin’s is apparently 27.
She’s quickly thrown into the path of womanizer Tom (Anders Holm), who has literally made adjustments to his apartment to make it the perfect one night stand locale.
The man has shut off his own water just so that “hungover girls have to leave to survive.” As I said, it’s ROUGH out there.
Meanwhile, Lucy (Alison Brie), who lives above Tom’s bar, has been privy to his antics as she sits front and center at the rowdy establishment, borrowing its wifi as she tries to employ algorithms to find her the perfect dates on the ten dating sites for which she has an active profile.
And Meg (Leslie Mann) is Alice’s older sister who is past the experimental days of her twenties, and trying to work out the balance between finding success in her career and not completely missing out on the opportunity to start a family.
Ken (Lacy) saunters in to try and suavely help Meg with that difficult balance, though perhaps doesn’t get off to the best start as he almost drinks a candle instead of his cocktail when chatting her up at the office party.
Wilson is hilarious as wise-cracking, free-spirited Robin, who shakes things up for both Meg and Alice, and tries especially to get the latter to lighten up.
Following her roles in Bridesmaids and Pitch Perfect, of course, the performance is not a surprise, though an absolutely blast to watch.
Johnson and Mann are endearing as sisters who want the best for each other but can’t help but struggle with the judgements thrown on women in their respective positions, also expertly showing how awkward dating can be.
Brie’s character is a bit overdramatic, though not unbelievable, and especially enjoyable to watch as she tackles the infuriating expectations of women in dating.
Damon Wayans Jr. also stars as a love interest for Alice (Johnson), introducing a heart-breaking subplot about loss and the struggles of dating with children.
With all of the other entangled stories already in motion, it is a bit extraneous, but I’m just such a fan of Wayans Jr. from his work in Happy Endings and New Girl that I can’t say I didn’t enjoy it.
I went in to How To Be Single hoping for at least a few laughs – presumably from Wilson – and I got so much more. It’s a relatable, hilarious ride with a cast full of beautiful, comical people, and it charms you from beginning to end (with a few off-color remarks thrown in here and there… it is a dating romp after all).
Though it’s not a subject I’ve ever thought I’ve needed teaching on, I’ll definitely be seeing How To Be Single again, at the very least as soon as it hits Redbox.