When you go to McDonald’s and order a McChicken, you know what you’re going to get. A chicken sandwich. But, that chicken sandwich could be really sloppy and gross and just make you gag OR it could end up having the perfect amount of lettuce and mayo and be really just delightfully crispy. Now it’s still just a f*cking chicken sandwich, but I mean, it’s really good and did you really expect anything more? How To Be Single is the latter metaphorical McChicken.
Unsurprising to those who truly know me, this was my most anticipated film of February 2016. The trailer looked really dumb and unfunny but it was paired with a very fun and upbeat tone, which attracted me. What also attracted me was Dakota Johnson & Alison Brie. The first being someone that’s been having a very interesting career, peaking my interest by making me want to see what she’ll do next and the latter being someone who’s just a great actress and has been doing some great stuff lately, except for Get Hard. The other supporting members intrigued me as well: Rebel Wilson, Anders Holm, Leslie Mann, Jake Lacy, Jason Mantzoukas, Damon Wayans Jr, they all got me excited to see this film. Plus if you know me, you know that I love romantic comedies. I guess they’re my guilty pleasure.
But this was different. It completely delivered the upbeat & fun tone the trailer promised, as well as fixed the dumber comedic moments with the help of context. This film honestly surprised the hell out of me. I knew going in that I would like it, but for a different reason. I love dumb and unfunny rom-coms. They’re just amusing to me because I know exactly who’s going to end up with who but it’s just fun to see how it happens. Now, that’s not to say that this film completely strayed from the formula; it’s still got its fair share of cliches to go around but they’re just sprinkled where you’d least expect it. The film remained relatively unpredictable throughout, for myself, though I see some would beg to differ. It’s not so unpredictable so if you hated the trailer, you’d most likely hate the film. I believe that I’m just completely and wholeheartedly susceptible to the charm of a decent rom-com. But once again, I see some would beg to differ.
This was also so much funnier than I thought it would be. I’m a pretty cynical person, but this film often left me laughing out loud. THEY DON’T BLOW THEIR LOAD IN THE TRAILER! The best jokes are in the film! How refreshing is that!??! The comedy sure is the most original or even funny, but it works really well for what this movie is. Don’t expect to be quoting the film years from know, just expect to smile for a few seconds. Rebel Wilson is wholly comedic relief in this film, but she’s used a tad bit sparingly, and is perfect because of that. Anders Holm delivers a few lines that made me die laughing, ones I could actually see some people quoting. Johnson also has a few funny moments, which was a little surprising. Overall, it actually made me laugh, which was refreshing.
Another aspect of this film that surprised me was the technical aspects. Romantic comedies often end up feeling really overproduced and fake feeling, but this film was again, different. It felt grounded, natural, and relatable, not like it was a product manufactured by greedy unpersonable producers. The cinematography also surprised me with this film. There are often very long tracking shots and creative & unexpected movements that help the film set itself apart from its peers. But I think the direction was the most unexpected aspect of How To Be Single. The film often begins to take itself a little too seriously but director Christian Ritter knows exactly how to uppercut a scene with a comedic punch. Single obviously tackles the concept of a woman trying to find out how to be herself without relying too much on others, and it does so very well, but this film actually is interested in so much more. The film looked to be, from the trailers, the story of Johnson’s character, with some interjects from Wilson, but it’s actually in more of the mosaic format of, I know this has somewhat of a negative connotation tied to to but, Valentine’s Day. And with this aforementioned concept, it allows itself to explore more themes than just being single; it tackles aging, male/female friendships, self worth, female empowerment, and others with ease.
Now it’s not the most special film out there. It still feels like a regular rom-com, but it’s just a little bit better than the rest. If you want a good comedy or romance film to see over the holiday weekend, check this one out. In the end, it’s really an absolutely harmless film that’ll empower single females over Valentine’s Day. It’s good enough for what it’s supposed to be, even better, I’d say. It’s an overachiever. It’s funny and just so easy to watch, as well as super entertaining. If I had to pick on it, I’d say Wayans Jr’s part could’ve been completely scrapped to tighten the film into an even 1 hour 40 minutes, as with this part in, it drags a hair. But still I wouldn’t really fault the film for it. Anyways, if your interest was even slightly peaked by the trailer for this film, I’d recommend taking a trip to the theater to see it.
P.S. This has a f*ckin’ bumpin’ soundtrack