HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: How To Be Single
HTS Overall Score:71
“How to be Single” is a bit of an ensemble piece about the novelties of the dating world, and how to survive the DATING world when you’re trying to find yourself when you’re single. Confusing? Well, that’s pretty much the whole gist of the movie as it’s a slightly confusing and hysterical (used in the going crazy sense, not funny sense) mess of six ways from Kevin Bacon while trying to get a date. In a structural sense “How to be Single” plays a bit like all of those romantic movies from Garry Marshall such as “Valentines Day”, “Mother’s Day” (which just came out), “New Years Eve” etc. etc. etc… People are brought together from all walks of life and their intertwines into a combined drama where some people are happy, some people are sad and some people are just along for the ride and love is ALWAYS in the air. While it’s not a perfect film by ANY stretch of the imagination, I have to give director Christian Ditter a little bit of credit as he DOES add a little bit of heart and seriousness to an otherwise painful experience at times.
Meet Alice (Dakota Johnson) and Josh (Nicholas Braun), two college sweet hearts who have just graduated. Alice has the BRILLIANT idea of “taking a break” for a while so she can find herself (HELLO! Have you not seen season 3 of “Friends” at all?!), even though Josh desperately doesn’t want her to go. Adamant about her decision to find her inner self while she’s alone, Alice moves into New York City proper with her sister Meg (Leslie Mann). Leslie is a rather successful delivery doctor and really doesn’t have much time for the dating world, but her biological clock is ticking and she desperately wants a baby at this point in her life. Then of course we have Robin (Rebel Wilson), the drunk party girl who just hangs out at bars all night and barely works during the day (basically the same character that Rebel plays in 95% of her movies). Add in a dash of Tom (Anders Holm), the good looking bartender at their local haunt who is available to all the ladies, but only if they don’t want anything serious, and then top it off with Lucy, the desperately lonely single girl who just wants to settle down and have kids in a city that’s dominated by people who DON’T want to settle down. Whew, I think that’s just about every one of the main players right there.
It’s a mish mash of stories as we see that pretty much every single one of these people are either messed up or missing the mark at every shot. When Alice is done with her little Rumspringa she finds out that Josh has moved on to someone new and left her high and dry after their little “break”. Crushed and feeling hopeless, Alice pretty much tries to figure out how to be single, as she’s pretty much only BEEN in a relationship. Getting drunk and partying every night with Robin, she soon finds out that she’s a hopeless romantic who falls in the idea of BEING in love, so her bout of singleness is really nothing but TRYING to get into a relationship. Meg meets a much younger guy named Ken (Jake Lacy), but does everything under the sun to push him away as she’s the older successful woman and she’s just waiting for the other shoe to drop and her to get left in the dust (oh and did I mention that she did not tell Ken that she had artificially inseminated herself prior to meeting him? There’s no WAY this can go wrong). Simultaneously Tom has found himself starting to fall for Lucy, but Lucy has seemingly fallen in love with a goofy guy (played by Jason Mantzoukas) and appears to finally found the lucky ONE.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=70953[/img]I feel like I really need a couple of aspirin after watching “How to be Single” as it is a giant headache inducing hour and fifty minutes. This was such a GREAT cast of people with so many good actors (followed up by a couple of horrible ones), and I was honestly hoping this would be a fun little rom com, but sadly it just doesn’t hold up under pressure. The stories play out as less of HOW to be single, but really as a testament how NOT to act while you’re single. Well, except for Robin. She lives her life the way she wants and doesn’t find any fault with her actions. I’m not condoning being a drunken party moo cow, but rather the fact that she is just enjoying herself and not worrying about what people think of her. The rest of the cast come across as severely narcissistic or desperate, struggling to hold a cohesive though in their heads without coming of as lunatics. Dakota Johnson is the same mumbling character she is from “50 Shades of Grey”, except she has no Christian Grey to control her with a whip. Instead she falls in and out of love with everyone she meets like its middle school, and Meg is about as narcissistic as can be with her loveable boyfriend Ken, who basically is the PERFECT guy. Tom is your average male opportunist, but his conclusion is ridiculous and rather unrealistic as he has to come to the conclusion that it’s time to grow up and stop being a one night stand guy. The ONLY person who has a consistent arc throughout the story that is sweet and adorable is Lucy. She’s your regular Type A personality who is scouring all of New York City for Mr. Right and uses Tom’s bar for free Wi-Fi and he hookup with George is sweet and adorable, but then again Allison Brie cannot NOT be adorable in anything she does. My only complaint with her story arc is that it feels very disconnected from the rest of the intermingling. She’s in and out for a few scenes and while she does wake Tom up, so to speak, her plot points could have been cut out of the movie and we would have felt zero impact.
Christian Ditter does weave in some really good aspects to the film though, especially with the shakeup of relationships. Not everyone ends up happy and in love by the time the credit rolls around. I honestly really appreciated that some people ended up alone and happy with that fact, some people were alone and looking forward to the future, and others ended up together and happy. There were different permutations to the all of the encounters that happened in the movie and that made it all the more realistic. At the same time that felt so alien from the rest of the movie, as I spent about an hour and forty minutes watching these ridiculous clichés and encounters that made me feel like I was in a Garry Marshall movie on an acid trip, only to suddenly end the film with a more serious note and some really fantastic endings to the relationships. So it’s kind of a rock and hard place situation. On one hand the first 2.5 acts of the film were beyond inane, but the last few minutes of the movie tries to go all serious and sweet so the disconnect feels awkward.
Rated R for sexual content and strong language throughout
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=70961[/img]“How to be Single” is given a nice and warm sparkling encode from Warner Brothers, featuring a very luscious and “warm” color palate that is bathed in light orange and yellow sunlight during the bright New York days, and then switches to an earthy tone that is augmented by neon lights and the other brilliant colors of New York City night life. Black levels stay strong throughout and fine detail is incredible. You can see the stitching on Dakota Johnson’s many outfits from afar, and facial detailing is great, showing off every pore. There’s a bit of a softness that comes and goes (mainly in the daylight sequences), and the detail suffers just a tad, but it’s not extremely wild and usually isn’t for very long. There’s a flicker of banding in a scene or two, otherwise the disc is free from any annoying artifacting as the disc was given a very solid bitrate to work with.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=70969[/img]First and foremost, “How to be Single” is a comedy and with a comedy comes a rather stereotypical type of soundtrack. The 5.1 DTS-HD MA experience is a bit front heavy, with a majority of the time the dialog taking the center stage. The surrounds do get some mild ambient noises from New York, but really the only time they get a lot to work with is when the modern pop music is playing or Alice and Robin are partying it up in some bar downtown. LFE is tight and crisp when called for, but fade back into the background once the afore mentioned pop songs vanish and the talking begins again. “How to be Single” has a simple and straightforward sound to it, and it isn’t a wild action film, but it does everything asked of it and does it extremely well.
• The Pros and Cons of How To Be Single
• Rebel Rabble: A Look at Rebel Wilson
• The Best Idea Wins! The Humor of How To Be Single
• Deleted Scenes
• Gag Reel
• Rebel Wilson Outtakes
“How to be Single” is not a great movie, it’s not a horrible movie, but manages to set in that kind of “meh” realm where the stupidity sort of outweighs the good parts, but the good parts worked REALLY well when they did work. The ensemble comedies are usually not exactly the most intelligent of films, and have been done to death, but I really wanted to give this one a shot. Sadly it’s very mediocre despite the really diverse cast of actors and actresses. Audio and video look and sound fantastic so if the trailer intrigues you enough there won’t be any disappoint there. Otherwise I would probably just rent it if you’re bored.
Starring: Rebel Wilson, Dakota Johnson, Leslie Mann
Directed by: Christian Ditter
Written by: Abby Kohn, Marc Silversteing
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, English, French, Spanish, Portuguese DD 5.1
Runtime: 110 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: Own How to Be Single on Blu-ray or DVD on May 24 or Own It Early on Digital HD on May 3!
Buy How To Be Single Blu-ray on Amazon
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