2.5 out of 4 stars
Who needs men, really?
Certainly not Alice, Robin, Meg or Lucy, who are very good at making bad dating decisions in How To Be Single, a chick flick where the ladies have no trouble putting the word “sin” in “single.”
For them, there’s never a drink that’s one too many, a bad time to go to the club or a man who’s not worth a night between the sheets. Drink. Dance. Sex. Repeat. It’s basically the soundtrack of their lives throughout a 110-minute film fueled by girl power.
How To Be Single is a romantic comedy, but uses the term loosely since its romance involves how many beers it takes for two people to get down to a little bedroom business. And for these women, business is booming.
Dakota Johnson (Alice), who had the appeal of a fake flower in Fifty Shades of Gray, is genuine in How To Be Single, where she’s on her own after dumping her stable-but-boring boyfriend for the single life. But Alice doesn’t go from homebody to hook-up artist on her own.
She’s taught how to navigate the New York dating scene by her hefty and sexy best friend Robin (Rebel Wilson), who correlates sex with the number of drinks she’s consumed. She’s the kind of woman who men take home, but definitely not to meet their mom. But Wilson is Wilson; if you love her over-the-top comedy where she embraces her size 18 frame and even bigger mouth, then How To Be Single is her highlight reel.
If you’re not into uncouth humor, you’ll like Lucy (Alison Brie of Mad Men), who believes the algorithm she created by registering with every dating website will lead her to Mr. Right — even if she has to fight through an army of Mr. Wrongs. Good luck with that, Lucy.
And then there’s Meg (Leslie Mann of The Other Woman). What’s not to love? She’s basically the Holy Trinity of women: hot, rich and single. The problem? She wants to have a baby instead of solely delivering them as a doctor, so she buys the sperm of some handsome, cancer-free dude on the Internet and presto, she’s a single mom.
Director Christian Ditter and writers Abby Kohn, Marc Silverstein and Dana Fox deserve credit for giving depth to a bawdy movie that looked as shallow as a shot glass in its trailer. The film is filled with plenty of lewd humor, but each joke centers around love, specifically what some do to find it and what others do to avoid it.
How To Be Single can’t be stereotyped as simply another romantic comedy looking to cash in on Valentine’s Day because Johnson and Wilson complement each other perfectly. While Wilson represents a woman who treats sex like it should be discarded like cheap lipstick, Johnson uses it as means to find out what she wants out of life and who she truly is — and who she doesn’t want to become.
Her journey being single shows that while sex and companionship are integral to a relationship, they aren’t essential to being happy when you’re on your own.
Jon Gallo is an award-winning journalist and editor with 18 years experience, including stints as a staff writer at The Washington Post and sports editor at The Baltimore Examiner. He’s also an editor for CBSSports.com. He’s crossing his fingers the only baseball team in Baltimore that will contend for a title this summer won’t be his fantasy squad, the Catonsville Cartel. He also believes the government should declare federal holidays in honor of the following: the Round of 64 of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament; the Friday of the Sweet 16; the Monday after the Super Bowl; and of course, the day after the release of the latest Madden NFL video game.