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Now showing in Hong Kong

Film review: How to Be Single – predictable and stereotypical

Romantic comedy plays out like a second-rate Sex and the City

PUBLISHED : Monday, 15 February, 2016, 8:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 15 February, 2016, 4:31pm

This dismal attempt to spice up a romantic comedy is as crude and clunky as they come. A vague premise about how to successfully live a single life quickly degenerates into a dumbed-down Sex and the City story about how to find a suitable mate in New York. Although the shenanigans do generate the occasional laugh, the jokes are too stupid and the situations too predictable to amuse anyone with more than one brain cell.

How to be Single starts with Alice (Dakota Johnson) telling her boyfriend Josh (Nicholas Braun) that she wants to take a break from their long-term relationship so she can discover her true essence. She moves in with her sister (Leslie Mann) and starts to hang out with her hard-drinking work colleague Robin (Australian comic Rebel Wilson) at the neighbourhood bar. After a few weeks on the town, and a brief one-night stand, she tries to resume her relationship with Josh – only to find he doesn’t want her back.

The characters in How to be Single are so stereotypical that they make the usual movie stereotypes seem eccentric. For instance, one reason Alice misses Josh is that she can’t work her television remote control without him. Every situation is a cliché. Rebel Wilson’s scatological antics occasionally liven things up, but even here, the slapstick humour is fumbled.

The most annoying aspect of the movie is how it purports to be daring, but is in fact horribly conventional. Although the characters ramble on about independence and living an interesting life, they’re really only interested in finding a boyfriend.

How to Be Single opens on February 18