FILM REVIEW | How to be Single

Focus on friendship: Dakota Johnson and Rebel Wilson play Alice and Robin in surprisingly decent rom-com How to be Single, directed by Christian Ditter.

Focus on friendship: Dakota Johnson and Rebel Wilson play Alice and Robin in surprisingly decent rom-com How to be Single, directed by Christian Ditter.

If ever there’s been an over-used theme in romantic comedies it’s the ‘I’ve got to find out who I am before I can figure out who we are’ trope.

How to be Single, directed by Love, Rosie’s Christian Ditter, takes that theme, adds plenty of alcohol and flavours of feminism, and produces a deeper comedy than the title would suggest.

The film follows fresh college graduate Alice (Dakota Johnson, a worthy leading lady) entering the dating scene after ‘taking a break’ from long-time love Josh to embark on a journey of self-discovery.

On her first day of a new job Alice meets serial single Robin (Rebel Wilson in a role that’s more plot-device than three-dimensional character) who immediately gives her the rundown on successful singledom.

From there we meet the other players in the ensemble cast – stereotypical Type-A with a love algorithm Lucy (the delightful Alison Brie, criminally underused), fiercely independent child-phobic midwife Meg (Leslie Mann, always fantastic) and Barney Stinson-alike bartender Tom (Anders Holm, of The Intern).

The fantastic Damon Wayans Jr also makes an appearance in a slightly unexpected role.

At first glance it seems the film will tread the road most travelled by and make little difference, but it surprisingly doesn’t.

It does meet all the tropes, but it says goodbye pretty quickly, fleshing out its characters more and genuinely attempting to give it’s leading female characters a purpose and full life outside of a relationship.

As much as How to be Single is about finding yourself inside a relationship and out, its also about the various forms of friendship, the most important of which is being a friend to yourself.

Also surprising is the lack of crude humour, most of which is revealed in the trailers.

It is very much a feminist film, and though Rebel Wilson – whose dramatic acting skills leave a bit to be desired – is tasked with driving that message home, it still works.

Perhaps a touch longer than it needs to be, How to be Single manages to deliver both genuine laughs and genuine insight into relationships of all kinds.

How to be Single, M, is in cinemas now.

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