Alice (Dakota Johnson) meets Josh (Nicholas Braun) in her freshman year of college. After four years of what Josh views as a relationship with a future, Alice says she needs a break to find herself. Josh is heartbroken but has no other choice than to accept her decision.
Alice moves to New York City where she shares an apartment with her sister and takes a job as a paralegal. On Alice's first day on her job she meets Robin (Rebel Wilson) who is all about the excesses of single life in New York: the clubs, the men and booze. They become friends. They hit the singles scene. Alice also meets Tom, the owner of a neighborhood bar. He makes it clear that's he's strictly a friends with benefits type of guy. They have a fling. Alice then decides she's been free long enough. She calls Josh who has also moved to New York. They meet. She tells him she's ready to return to what they had in college. But now it's her turn to be heartbroken; Josh has moved on and is no longer interested.
How to Be Single is set in New York. Shot in 47 days. You can't help but compare it to Sex in the City. The focus is mainly on a single young professional woman. But if you have been single in New York City, you will identify with this film. This is a complicated place to date and this movies captures the conflicts and the misunderstandings that come with seeking a partner in a highly diverse and complex town.
Dakota Johnson (daughter of Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson) is solid in the leading role. She is a flawed but basically decent human being. This story only works if viewers identify with her and her plight. And they do.
This movie is also supported by a strong supporting cast: Leslie Mann, Nicholas Braun, and Damon Wayans Jr., among others. The only character lacking credibility is Rebel Wilson's Robin. She's out of control: promiscuous, drinking, partying. She's a parody. And not believable in any way.
How to Be Single reflects a trend in movies of gradually moving towards more sexually active characters. During the height of the AIDS epidemic, viewers recoiled at images of uninhibited carnal behavior as dangerous and foolhardy.
How to Be Single and other films and TV series tend to overly glamorize life in the Big Apple. Everyone lives in a gorgeous and usually very large apartment, wear designer outfits and have loads of time to just hang out.
As to our diversity rating, this movie gets a C+. In New York City, two out of every three people are nonwhite. But you would never know it from films like this one, and TV shows like Seinfeld, Friends, and Sex in the City.
In Alice's circle of friends and acquaintances, there is one person of color, Paul, played by Damon Wayans Jr. He and Alice meet at a college alumni event and later connect romantically.
David is a successful, very polished professional, as well as, a devoted father. His wife died a couple of years earlier and he still struggles with the loss. This type of positive image of a black man, intelligent with emotional depth, is rare and is commendable that the casting director selected him for this role.
So what's the verdict on How to Be Single? All-in-all it's worth a trip to the theater because it's the kind of film that you'll think and talk about after it's over. And it gets a See It rating.
It's a 1 hour and 50 minutes. It's rated R for sexual content and language.