For years we have seen countless of Rom-Com movies that offer similar plots about a group of women embarking on a romantic conquest to find the right man. Or there are other movies in the genre that bend the rules a bit to prove the necessary bond of female friendship. But, when it actually comes to women in rom-com who don’t want to be tied down, our choices are limited. Can I count in Sex and the City or maybe The Other Woman?
How to Be Single centers on Alice (played by my favourite Dakota Johnson) who has never been single in her life i.e. she is very co-dependent to other people, be it her parents, friends or her four-year college boyfriend. Until she decided to “take a break” from their relationship and moved to NYC to find herself. She has a doctor sister (played by Leslie Mann) who on the other hand gave up the idea of relationship to focus on her career. Alice then goes on to work in a law firm and befriend the wild, loud-mouthed and overly confident, Robin, (played by Rebel Wilson) who took her out on a hook-up spree around the city. There is also Lucy (played by Alison Brie), the fourth woman in the picture who has nothing to do with the other three, but she is there for a purpose. Lucy is your typical marriage-minded gal who uses online dating to find The One.
Loosely based on Liz Tuccillo‘s novel and directed by Christian Ditter, How to be single is not a bad rom-com movie. It has a good lead and an engrossing message that tried to banish the stigma of being single. The female lead, being Alice, is typical yet relatable at the same time. I might not find my true self in NYC like she did nor would I hook up with a stereotypical bartender, but Dakota Johnson’s Alice is chic, a little desperate but with little to none neurotic nonsense. She enjoys casual dating and sex but doesn’t need them to define herself. Hint: Did you guys get the Cheryl Strayed’s homage in the end?
But as predicted How to be.. doesn’t come without its tacky jokes, cliché twists and generic characters. The clichés are found in the other characters. From Lucy’s decision on having a sperm donor baby but somehow met Mr. Right along the way to Lucy’s crazy search on finding The Guy that feels outdated: both are lazy writing with recycled characters that ironically doesn’t sell the notion of being Single. I don’t even want to bother you by stating the obvious, “Why aren’t there any non-white or LGBT characters?”
What I learned from the movie? The art of being single is either simple or too confusing. Some people seek validation in a relationship, some embrace being single as a temporary state, while others, like Robin, simply rides on her scooter without a care in the world.