Happily Alone: “How to Be Single”

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“If you’re not having fun being single, then you’re not doing it right.”

 

But the single life’s not just about sleeping around in New York, the city that never sleeps, bar-hopping, wangling free drinks in the Singleton Capital of the world, knowing where to hook up with guys, when to text back your one-night stand.

 

Nor is it all about soul-searching solo in the wilderness of places like Grand Canyon after dumping everyone or being dumped.

 

It’s knowing what you want and how to get it, living with “The One” who keeps you company from birth, 24 by 7, until death.

 

And it’s not a man or a woman or someone in-between, nor is it family, lover, friend, husband or wife.

 

It’s your Self, dummy. Who else could it be?

 

Guess I’ve always known how to be single because I’ve loved every moment of it all these years.

 

So it amused me to watch the characters in “How to Be Single” grappling with their desperately unmarried state.

 

Anyway, it was meant to be a fresh take on the romantic comedy genre dealing with what it means to be single today, says Director Christian Ditter. “It’s embracing the most fun and free time of life in between relationships, while you’re searching for your place in the world, seeking friends, finding out what you want to do with your life. I think that anyone who’s been single—and that’s everybody—will find a lot to laugh about when they relate it to their own life.”

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The heroines are four bachelorettes played by some of today’s hottest comedic actresses, from Dakota Johnson (Alice), Rebel Wilson (Robin), Alison Brie (Lucy) to Leslie Mann (Meg) and the rest of the singletons incude rising comedy stars like Damon Wayans Jr. (David), Anders Holm (Tom), Nicholas Braun (Josh), Jake Lacy (Ken) and Jason Mantzoukas (George).

 

“Being single is a universal experience, being young, discovering a whole world.  We often think it’s a partner we have to find, but it’s really ourselves and that can be scary,” Producer John Rickard maintained.

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But what’s scary in real life can make us laugh the hardest when played out on film – especially one that opens with a zoom-in of a hunk’s huge hard-on and comes peppered with bawdy jokes like Robin peeking under Alice’s towel and berating the bush between her legs as something resembling Gandalf’s beard.

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Fresh-faced Alice took a break from her boyfriend of four years, Mr. Nice-guy Josh, to know what it’s like being alone for the first time in her life, thinking maybe solitude can give her what she has always dreamed of – like solo treks in the Grand Canyon. Newly unattached, she ventures into a new job as a paralegal in a new city—New York and falls straight in the hands of Robin, an oversized wild child who took on the role of an insane mentor cum tour guide.

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“Alice has been sheltered and established a lot of boundaries for herself,” Dakota says of her role. “Robin has zero boundaries and doesn’t care what anyone else thinks of her, as long as she’s having fun. She really loves being single and wants everyone else to love it as much as she does.”

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“Robin is the eternally single girl who knows who she is and what she wants, is super independent and has the best life you could have in the best city in the world,” Rebel put in. “She goes out partying, drinks a lot, has one-night stands and doesn’t carry any of the baggage that a relationship can bring.”

 

“Everything she does is hysterically funny,” the director admitted. “We always did a few scripted takes, of course, but then I said to Rebel, ‘Okay, surprise me,’ and a lot of what she did is in the film, because she’s so inventive and such a comedy genius.  I was afraid we’d have to digitally stabilize all of her takes because the camera operator was laughing so hard.”

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Together, Rebel and Dakota hit it off like lightning in a bottle. They played off each other like a classic comedy duo. “We added a lot of outrageous physical comedy—nothing was too crazy for Christian,” Rebel recalled. “He enjoyed that stuff and trusted us to go with it, so we did.  He was incredibly supportive of our ideas and we got up to some great mischief, Dakota and I.”

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However, Alice’s older sister, Meg, presented a less happy version of the unattached female. A middle-aged obstetrician who prioritized career over child-bearing, Meg belatedly discovered she yearns for an offspring as her biological clock ticked away. She resorted to artificial insemination to have a baby of her own only to fall hard for a much younger man after she became pregnant.

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The fourth bachelorette in the story, Lucy, was a pragmatic dating machine, obsessed with statistics to find the right mate. She did all the math to find Mr. Right, employing algorithm in online dating sites to weed through the guys. Unfortunately, she had bad internet connection in her place and had to use the wifi in the bar downstairs.

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There, she ran into Tom, the serial single bartender with a premeditated lack of amenities in his bachelor pad to drive out his one-night stands before breakfast. He falls for Lucy but she’s too organized and rigid in her thinking, she missed the forest for the trees. Nevertheless, she stumbled on George, the bookshop owner she chose to marry, not on a website but when she had a meltdown about her love life while reading to a group of kids. And it was one of the film’s funniest scenes.

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