Bad Advice – How to Be Single (2016)

Nothing to write home about.  So this is about a number of interconnecting stories about single women who are just trying to make it in New York City and possibly find love along the way.  There is a correct way of doing this kind of movie and an incorrect way.  The right way to do it is to put care, thought and skill into it, and if you do that, you can wind up making something amazing like Love Actually.  The incorrect way is the Garry Marshall approach where you just hire a bunch of big name actors that happen to be available between movies and wing it, naming it after some sort of holiday and making it up as you go.  This results in pap like Mother’s Day, New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day.  How to Be Single is much closer to the latter than the former, and there just isn’t all that much to chew on here.

1The charismatic Alison Brie can only do so much.

Now I am not one to automatically scoff at a comedy made with the female audience in mind.  Take Clueless, for example.  You can play to your target demographic while still making a movie that is enjoyable to all.  There’s a lot wrong with this, and almost everything has to do with the craft of it.  The biggest shortcoming of this is that every single person here has the tiniest of character arcs, and the filmmaker hopes that you won’t notice, given all the story juggling that is going on.  Also, every single character is written to be irresponsible to the point where you never believe that they could conceivably hold down jobs at any point, especially Rebel Wilson.  While I don’t think she is as grating as Melissa McCarthy, she does only have one speed and volume, and that is obnoxious and crass.

2She plays a woman on a permanent bender, but that’s pretty much what she has made her entire career of.

Practically everything about this is tired, played out, trite and predictable, but it never quite breaches the realm of offensive.  It’s bland more than anything, really, and I kept forgetting subplots until they brought them back up again.  It’s a misnomer of a movie, and it should have been titled How NOT to Be Single; you shouldn’t be approaching your life like any of the characters featured here, regardless of what your relationship status happens to be.  I will admit that I got one, giant, belly laugh out of this towards the end, and that actually ended up bumping this up above the bottom of the barrel for me, but this is an unmemorable movie at every other turn, and you can ultimately skip it.

How to Be Single (2016) **

– Critic for Hire


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