Looking for a way to celebrate Valentine’s Day this weekend? The new romantic comedy How to Be Single hits theaters this Friday and isn’t just a movie for people who are currently unattached. The Christian Ditter-directed film, starring Dakota Johnson and Rebel Wilson, is more a lesson in how to be happy – regardless of your current marital status.
How to Be Single follows four unattached woman in NYC. Alice (Johnson) recently took a break from college boyfriend Josh (Nicholas Braun) and moved to NYC to work as a paralegal at law firm. Alice’s co-worker Robin (Wilson) is the life of the office and tries to teach Alice How to Be Single in the city. Alice also receives advice from older sister Meg (Leslie Mann), a successful obstetrician who has delivered 3,000 babies but has never had one herself. Then there’s Lucy (Alison Brie), who is on a desperate mission to find a husband and steals a local bartender’s Wi-Fi to manage her 10 different dating site profiles.
Alice is reminiscent of Ginnifer Goodwin’s character in He’s Just Not That Into You as she narrates the relationships in the film. The resemblance doesn’t come as a surprise since the author of How to Be Single, Liz Tuccillo, co-authored He’s Just Not That Into You. Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein also co-wrote the screenplays for both films.
Johnson brings charm as “not ready to be alone” Alice who struggles with learning How to Be Single. Her biggest concern? Who is going unzip her dress? After taking a break with her college sweetheart, Alice has a one-night stand with bartender bachelor Tom (Anders Holm) and a short-lived relationship with single dad, David (Damon Wayans Jr.). With the help of Meg and brutally-honest confrontations from BFF Robin, Alice realizes she truly wants to be alone and impressively invents a way to unzip her dress by herself (magnets and a pulley involved!).
Wilson brings her comedic genius to the role of Robin, Alice’s co-worker turned best friend. Exclaiming there is no such thing as a break, Robin hilariously puts Alice in her place calling her “season three Ross.” She’s the type of friend that brings booze to a holiday party, not as a hostess gift, but for herself. She’ll also punch you in the chest if you use an emoji when texting a guy, and will throw herself in front of a cab to make it stop. The Australian actress may play the same role in each movie, but she keeps the audience laughing throughout as the ultimate single lady.
Mann as Meg is a perfect fit. She’s the successful older sister who has focused on her career rather than worrying about being in a relationship, but realizes she wants to fill that empty void by having a baby on her own through IVF. After an awkward exchange (yawning and mention of a foot fetish), Meg starts a relationship with a younger man, Ken (Jake Lacy), at the worst time. It is Lacy that has us falling in love with him (both as Ken and in real life) as he proves to Meg that he is worthy of being a stay-at-home dad. “I can totally handle this all myself. I’m an independent woman,” Meg says. “But I don’t want to.”
Brie may be engaged in real-life to Dave Franco, but she knows how to play the role of a husband-hunting, marriage-obsessed woman. She, too, at times, acts like Goodwin’s overbearing Gigi in He’s Just Not That Into You. Is Lucy going to end up with her bartender friend, Tom, just like Gigi did with Alex (Justin Long)? Or will she continue going on date after date until she finds the one? Lucy’s role in the movie doesn’t quite fit in with the other characters, but we particularly appreciated the former Mad Men star’s scene when she had a nervous breakdown and started cutting off her Spanx in front of children.
What’s the moral of the story? Like He’s Just Not That Into You, it’s summed up by narrator Alice: You should cherish being single.
“In a week, lifetime, you may only get one moment when you are not tied up in the relationship with anyone,” narrator Alice says of needing to find yourself before you can be ready for a relationship. “One moment when you stand up on your own, truly single, and then it’s gone.”
Whether you’ve already found “the one,” are still searching or don’t even want “the one,” there’s a relatable character (or maybe just a scene) in the film. So bring a friend, drag your fiancé/husband, and make a date to see How to Be Single this weekend. If you are single, maybe it will inspire you to take that cooking class or do that thing you always wanted, but never got around to. If you are in a relationship, remember to be yourself, and appreciate that you found your special someone!