Because I thought that Trainwreck was a train wreck, I went to see How to Be Single with a large dose of skepticism. Ignoring the fact that I could have written the damn movie myself, I was interested to see what was in store. Some spoilers are ahead, because you probably know how this is going to go anyway.
Dakota Johnson is Alice, a recent graduate who breaks up with her college boyfriend because she essentially, for lack of a better term, wants to find herself. So, off she goes to New York City, because of course she does. (Side note, I am over all these fancy NYC apartments that 20-somethings can supposedly afford. Unless your last name is Trump, you are probably paying $2000 a month for a closet)
Almost immediately, Alice meets Robin (Rebel Wilson) at work. Robin makes Alice her instabestie and shows her how awesome it is to be young and single in a city like NYC. She teaches Alice all about the palette cleanser, for instance, and the drink count — as in a certain number of combined drinks you and your friend of the opposite sex must stay under, lest you sleep together.
Alice’s first palette cleanser is Tom (Anders Holm), your atypical man whore bartender, who is also part of a side story that never really makes sense. The side story involves Lucy (Alison Brie), a desperate girl who just wants to find love. Tom watches her unravel during date after date at his bar. It was kind of a pointless side story, but there for whatever reason. Maybe the reason is to watch and think, “Hey, at least I’m not like Lucy!”
Since this movie is pretty predictable, Alice at some point decides she is done finding herself and misses her ex and wants him back. Naturally, he tells her to take a flying leap because he is seeing someone else.
Alice’s older sister, Meg, played by the always wonderful Leslie Mann, is a fiercely single, independent doctor, delivering babies but not wanting any of her own.
I bring this up because it leads to what I think was one of the most unrealistic parts of the movie. One of Meg’s patients asks her to watch her baby while she goes to the bathroom. And in the span of less than 60 seconds, this beautiful baby girl has convinced Meg that she has to be a mother. So Meg goes and gets herself a sperm donor and is knocked up when she ends up meeting the man of her dreams, who is more than willing to raise this baby as his own (once they clear the romantic hurdle of her hiding the pregnancy and pushing him away until after she gives birth).
Meg’s unrealistic story aside, there was another part of the movie where I caught myself rolling my eyes. Alice starts dating a single father, but before they even have their first date, he is already we-ing them. You know, when a guy you just met starts saying, we should do this, we should do that, and the next thing you know you’re abandoned in a Hooters parking lot.
Single father David doesn’t “we and flee” (as my friend recently called it), but he does flip out when Alice is playing with his daughter, which hits some sort of nerve and he immediately breaks up with her.
Of course, this movie would not be complete without a falling out between Alice and Robin, which happens at Alice’s birthday party. Robin uses a term — dick sand, as in quick sand but with boys — pointing out to Alice that she gets lost in whatever relationship she’s in and truly never figured out how to not only be single, but to be OKAY with being single. Alice does not like the taste of this harsh truth and almost sleeps with ex No. 1, until he informs her that he’s now engaged.
How to Be Single wasn’t quite like watching my own life, but there was a checklist of things that I could relate to, for sure. It makes you realize that when the experience is on the big screen, odds are millions of people went through the same thing that you did, even if you think you’re going through it alone.
It’s a movie worth seeing for Wilson and Mann alone. Johnson does a good job, but Alice as a character I could take or leave. Even though I gave away some plot points, I didn’t ruin everything — trust me! How the movie ends is better than what I was expecting, so I have to give credit where credit is due. The rest of it was fun, but unoriginal.