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Film review: "How to be Single"


"How to Be Single" begins with Alice (a charismatic Dakota Johnson), explaining that this story takes place entirely in the times between romantic relationships when, as she puts it, "real life happens." Her statement is a bit silly, since that's when most romantic-comedies take place -- not many revolve around established relationships -- but no matter, the film is still an immensely appealing entry in the genre.

As the movie opens, Alice breaks off a long-term relationship with her college boyfriend after realizing she's never been single long enough to figure out exactly what she wants out of life. In no time at all, her new office coworker (Rebel Wilson, in typical Rebel Wilson mode) takes it upon herself to act as Alice's guide through life as a single woman in the sexual playground that is New York City. Meanwhile, Alice's older sister (Leslie Mann) makes the decision to have a baby on her own, just as a relationship with a younger man (the ever-charming Jake Lacy) unexpectedly develops. We also follow Lucy (Alison Brie) in her attempts to meet Mr. Right, a vision of perfection that no man seems to live up to. She tells her romantic woes to the caddish bar owner (Anders Holm) who becomes Alice's f*** buddy, and whose establishment resides directly below Lucy's apartment.

It doesn't break any new ground, but "How to Be Single" is filled with likeable people doing funny things (in addition to those already mentioned, there's also a good role for Damon Wayans Jr. as a single father and the most promising of Alice's succession of new boyfriends), and director Christian Ditter brings some style to a genre not typically known for such things. Despite its focus on relationships, the ultimate message -- that maybe being single isn't so bad -- may seem obvious, but when it come to the romantic-comedy genre, it's one you never hear enough.