How To Be Single

 

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Four female singletons discover it’s a jungle out there (in the Big Apple) in this contrived adaptation of Liz Tuccillo's novel.

 

Here’s a tough one: how to be single. Actually, most people at one time or another have been single and probably handled the condition more maturely than any of the shallow caricatures trotted out here. Set ostentatiously in New York, where everybody is, naturally, insanely promiscuous, the film features the talents of Dakota Johnson, Rebel Wilson, Alison Brie and Leslie Mann and largely wastes them. Dakota is Alice, who wants to find herself before settling down with Mr Right; Rebel is Robin, the good-time sidekick who drinks industrial amounts of alcohol; Alison is Lucy, the computer-savvy singleton who organises her romantic life using on-line dating algorithms; and Leslie is Meg, Alice’s older sister, an obstetrician who hates babies.

 

How To Be Single

Hitting the bottle: Dakota Johnson and Rebel Wilson get ready for a night on the town 

 

The director Christian Ditter previously brought us Love, Rosie (2014) and is obviously fond of his laptop’s sitcom software. Thus, he falls back on Tia Nolan’s editing for comic effect, punctuates his scenes with familiar songs and allows his characters to talk in one-liners. It’s a surprise that these people don’t actually have speech bubbles animated onto the screen. Consequently, one fails to care for anyone and can pretty much predict where the script – adapted from Liz Tuccillo's 2008 novel – will take us. But every pig’s ear has a silver lining and we do learn that it’s a scientific fact that by the time a couple has consumed eleven drinks they will automatically have sex. Not that the NHS would approve, of course. Still, there’s a genuinely funny (and charming) turn from Jake Lacey as a guy who really does believe in commitment, but he’s a lone wolf in a pack of very weird and tiresome singletons.

 

JAMES CAMERON-WILSON

 

Cast: Dakota Johnson, Rebel Wilson, Alison Brie, Leslie Mann, Damon Wayans Jr, Nicholas Braun, Jason Mantzoukas, Jake Lacey, Anders Holm.

 

Dir Christian Ditter, Pro Drew Barrymore, Dana Fox, Nancy Juvonen and John Rickard, Screenplay Dana Fox, Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein, Ph Christian Rein, Pro Des Steve Saklad, Ed Tia Nolan, Music Fil Eisler, Costumes Leah Katznelson.

 

New Line Cinema/Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/Flower Films/Wrigley Pictures-Warner Brothers. 

109 mins. USA. 2016. Rel: 19 February 2016. Cert. 15.