Shapeless ‘How to Be Single’ is Dreadfully Unfunny

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionE-mail page to friendE-mail page to friendPDF versionPDF version
Average: 5 (1 vote)
HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 1.5/5.0
Rating: 1.5/5.0

CHICAGO – Rebel Wilson’s raunchy and vulgar schtick is now way past its freshness date, but she’s the only one able to elicit any chuckles in this otherwise woebegone women-behaving-badly, anti-romantic comedy, “How to Be Single.”

While it’s somewhat refreshing to see women get the focus, it would be a lot better if it didn’t portray all of them as sex crazed drug addicted raging alcoholics. This movie desperately wants to be female-centered girlfriend comedy in the “Judd Apatow” mold, but has neither the heart nor the comedic touch to pull it off.

Dakota Johnson, Rebel Wilson
Dakota Johnson and Rebel Wilson in ‘How to Be Single’
Photo credit: New Line Cinema

Dakota Johnson is a shy, mousy and cat-loving recent college graduate who breaks up with her longtime boyfriend because she has to learn how to be single in New York City. Her sister, the usually reliable Leslie Mann, is a doctor who spends all day delivering babies but actually hates them until arbitrarily she doesn’t. Alison Brie plays the stereotypical woman looking for a perfect husband, obsessed with finding algorithms that will lead her to true love. And Rebel Wilson is the world’s worst receptionist at the law firm where Johnson is working as a legal aide.

While Rebel Wilson’s vulgar quips about both the male and female genitalia lack the freshness they once did, they still got a couple of chuckles out of me. She’s a big bouncing ball of energy that is about the only thing able to inject a pulse into this shapeless and hapless production. Even half forgotten mediocre films such as the similar Zac-Efron-horny-guys-in-New-York production “That Awkward Moment” begin to look like precise machines of comic timing compared to “How to Be Single.”

All four of these actresses are talented comedians, but they simply don’t have anything interesting or funny to do. There are admittedly a couple of brief flashes where the movie has a sense of humor about its own contrivances. Take, for example, where Johnson meets young developer (Damon Wayans Jr.) at a college mixer. On their first date he takes her to a vacant building covered in plastic, and then asks her to close her eyes. It only feels right that Johnson then asks him if he’s about to “Dexter” her.

Dakota Johnson, Rebel Wilson, Leslie Mann
Rebel Wilson, Dakota Johnson and Leslie Mann in ‘How to Be Single’
Photo credit: New Line Cinema

Leslie Mann is usually able to get laughs out of just about anything, but she strikes out almost completely here with an underwritten role. Alison Brie is similarly wasted playing the kind of “Type A” personality that only occurs in rom-coms from lazy screenwriters – which leaves Dakota Johnson and Rebel Wilson to do all the heavy lifting. Johnson can be appealing, but her predicaments here are almost entirely of her own making, and Wilson gets the most out of a onenote party girl, but she’s pretty much a shallow flash in a pan without adding any depth to the character.

This film doesn’t work as a romance, and it mostly doesn’t work as a raunchy girlfriend comedy either. If you take a Valentine date to this movie you might learn firsthand “How To Be Single.”

”How to Be Single” is in theaters everywhere. Featuring Dakota Johnson, Rebel Wilson, Leslie Mann, Alison Brie, Damon Wayans Jr., Anders Holm, Colin Jost and Jake Lacy. Written by Abby Kohn, Marc Silverstein and Dana Fox. Directed by Christian Ditter. Rated R”

HollywoodChicago.com contributor Spike Walters

By SPIKE WALTERS
Contributor
HollywoodChicago.com
spike@hollywoodchicago.com

© 2016 Spike Walters, HollywoodChicago.com

User Login

Free Giveaway Mailing

TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • It's NOT ALL About You John Michael

    CHICAGO – John Michael epitomizes the art of the monologue. The Chicago transplant, by way of Dallas, is moving on (he says temporarily) from the city that inspired his last show, “Meatball Seance,” after notorious and successful runs of his other one-man shows, “John Michael and the Order of the Penix” and “Dementia Me.” His farewell performance is his latest, another laugh riot, “It’s NOT ALL About You John Michael,” and will take place at Mary’s Attic in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood on March 1st, 2019. Click here for details, including ticket information.

  • Soccer Player in the Closet, The 2

    CHICAGO – Connecting to the theater collective Nothing Without a Company means a couple of things. One, you may visit parts of Chicago you’ve never seen before – in this case a plant store in an industrial area south of Humboldt Park – and two, you will see some daring and outside-the-box stagings. “The Soccer Player in the Closet” is their latest production – a World Premiere – and it provides what the title implies and beyond. The play runs through March 17th, 2019. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

Advertisement



HollywoodChicago.com on Twitter

archive

HollywoodChicago.com Top Ten Discussions
tracker