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How to Be Single Blu-ray Review

How to Be Single (2016) movie poster How to Be Single

Theatrical Release: February 12, 2016 / Running Time: 108 Minutes / Rating: R

Director: Christian Ditter / Writers: Abby Kohn, Marc Silverstein (screen story & screenplay), Dana Fox (screenplay), Liz Tuccillo (book)

Cast: Dakota Johnson (Alice Kepley), Rebel Wilson (Robin), Leslie Mann (Meg Kepley), Damon Wayans Jr. (David Stone), Anders Holm (Tom), Alison Brie (Lucy), Nicholas Braun (Josh), Jake Lacy (Ken), Jason Mantzoukas (George), Colin Jost (Paul), Mickey Gooch Jr. (Robin's Date), Sarah Ramos (Michelle), Vanessa Rubio (David's Wife), Zani Jones Mbayise (Phoebe), Brent Morin (Lucy's Date)

Buy How to Be Single from Amazon.com: Blu-ray + Digital HD DVD + Digital Instant Video

Every Valentine's Day brings a romance movie or three to theaters. This year gave us How to Be Single, a film that looked like other romantic comedies of recent years. That's not just because of the timing; the movie is based on a novel by Liz Tuccillo, one of two authors of the bestselling self-help book that became He's Just Not That Into You.
That film, a 2009 Valentine's Day box office performer, created a blueprint for star-studded ensemble romcoms, the class that gave us Garry Marshall's Valentine's Day and New Year's Eve.

Unlike all of the aforementioned, How to Be Single is rated R, which is rare for a romantic comedy, particularly one aimed at women. This would also appear to fit that definition, with the film's marketing focused squarely on four female leads, who in fairness warrant that design with fame and screentime above their male castmates. The four-woman, R-rated approach may also invite comparisons to "Sex and the City", which is where Tuccillo got her start as a writer and story editor.

Though an ensemble piece, Single does have a clear protagonist in Alice Kepley (Fifty Shades of Grey's Dakota Johnson), who narrates and gets the most fleshed-out arc. At Weselyan University, Alice has a towel-dropping dorm hallway meet cute with Josh (Nicholas Braun), who soon becomes her boyfriend. Four years later, Alice wants to see if she can handle being single. Declaring the couple on a break, she moves to New York City, crashing on the couch of her older sister Meg (Leslie Mann), a workaholic obstetrician who has delivered thousands of babies over the years but has no child of her own. That changes when she decides to use a sperm donor and in vitro fertilization to become a single mother.

Alice Kepley (Dakota Johnson) learns how to be single in the romantic comedy "How to Be Single."

Through her new job as a paralegal, Alice meets Robin (Rebel Wilson), a wild, bawdy and heavy-drinking Australian-American who is excited to show her the ropes of New York singlehood, from free drinks to free hangover help.

Our fourth lead is Lucy (Alison Brie), who has virtually no interaction with the other three (despite poster art suggesting otherwise). She is seeking a soulmate through a bevy of dating websites, which she accesses through the free Wi-Fi of a nearby bar where she makes herself at home. There, she meets the bar's owner, Tom (Anders Holm), a playboy whose apartment is designed to prevent his stream of sexual partners from getting attached in any way.

While harboring feelings for Josh, who has moved on, Alice also meets Tom as well as David (Marlon Wayans Jr.), a widowed developer with a young daughter. Meanwhile, Alice's pregnant sister meets Ken (Jake Lacy), a significantly younger receptionist who takes a liking to her.

How to Be Single cycles through holidays -- Christmas, St. Patrick's Day, and Alice's birthday -- while exploring the love lives of those who are not in serious relationships.

Playboy bartender Tom (Anders Holm) poses as the boyfriend of soulmate-searching Lucy (Alison Brie) for the sake of a classmate's bridal party.

Though not as bad as those PG-13 romcoms of my opening paragraph, How to Be Single does not really surprise or impress. Aided by the large cast and multiple viable options it conceives,
it proves to be less predictable than most romantic comedies. But it's not a very funny or smart movie.

Wilson gets the lion's share of the comedy with her lewd and crude material, coining terms like "dicksand" and LTRP (don't ask). The film might be too raunchy for the fans she won as Pitch Perfect's Fat Amy. Mann seems like she should be above this kind of movie, but then she has been scarce since her last movie for her husband Judd Apatow (2012's This Is 40) and she doesn't do anything to stand out here. Johnson isn't the most convincing dramatic actor, but at least she's a newish face and that spares us the tedium and embarrassment of a more seasoned actress resorting to this kind of movie once more.

Suggesting a policy change for Warner Home Video, How to Be Single is not available in one of the studio's long-standard Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD combo packs. Instead, it is available in separate Blu-ray and DVD editions, each also equipped with digital copies. For over six years now, Warner has given combo packs to all but the most minor of new theatrical releases, which How to Be Single does not qualify as with grosses of $46 million domestic and $111 M worldwide.

How to Be Single Blu-ray Disc cover art -- click to buy from Amazon.com Blu-ray Disc Details

2.40:1 Widescreen
5.1 DTS-HD MA (English), Dolby Digital 5.1 (Descriptive Video Service, French, Spanish, Portuguese)
Subtitles: English for Hearing Impaired, French, Spanish, Portuguese
Not Closed Captioned; Extras Subtitled
Release Date: May 24, 2016
Suggested Retail Price: $29.98
Single-sided, dual-layered disc (BD-50)
Blue Eco-Friendly Keepcase
Also available on DVD ($28.98 SRP) and on Amazon Instant Video

VIDEO and AUDIO

There is no reason to expect a major studio film looking less than terrific on Blu-ray in 2016. How to Be Single does not upset those expectations, its 2.40:1 transfer looking sharp and vibrant throughout. The 5.1 DTS-HD master audio soundtrack is fairly unremarkable

Anders Holm earns an Epic Pro graphic as he describes his character in "Pros & Cons of 'How to Be Single.'" German director Christian Ditter calls the shots with earbuds hanging out of his shirt in "The Best Idea Wins!"

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS, PACKAGING and DESIGN

How to Be Single is accompanied by six bonus features on Blu-ray.

First up, "Pros & Cons of How to Be Single" (5:10) lets the cast discuss the characters,
their points complemented by clips and behind-the-scenes footage with graphics laid over them.

"Rebel Rabble: A Look at Rebel Wilson" (4:07) lets everyone speak highly of the film's comic dynamo, while also providing lots of her unused ad libs and glimpses of her on-set demeanor.

"The Best Idea Wins!: The Humor of How to Be Single" (6:05) celebrates the film's improvisation-encouraging creative duo of German director Christian Ditter and American writer-producer Dana Fox.

Widower David (Damon Wayans Jr.) endures an uncomfortable nightclub date in this deleted scene. How to Be Single's Blu-ray has no shortage of alternate Rebel Wilson jokes.

A reel of five deleted scenes (8:05) shows us David being asked out at work, going on that uncomfortable date, Tom disconnecting Lucy's apartment Wi-Fi, Meg scaring Ken with her snoring, and an anecdote and awkward exchange at Josh's party.

A short gag reel (1:55) captures and preserves the cast's playful antics and missed marks.

Finally, "Rebel Wilson Outtakes" (7:37) gives us not mess-ups but alternate takes,
lines and scenes featuring the actress.

The DVD edition, which to reiterate is not included here, apparently only includes the deleted scenes in the way of extras.

The disc opens with a trailer for Me Before You and a promo for digital movies. Neither is accessible by menu and, naturally, How to Be Single's own trailer is not included.

The static, silent menu adapts the poster art that misleadingly establishes the four ladies as friends.

At Warner, no combo pack means no slipcover. How to Be Single's basic eco-friendly keepcase holds the disc and an insert supplying the Digital HD with UltraViolet code and directions.

For workaholic Meg (Leslie Mann), first comes the baby, then comes love with handsome young receptionist Ken (Jake Lacy).

CLOSING THOUGHTS

If you're in the market for a new romantic comedy, How to Be Single fits the bill. It's not significantly better or worse than what the genre typically offers, which isn't often much. Strangely not a combo pack, Warner's Blu-ray boasts a fine feature presentation plus an okay handful of Rebel Wilson-centric extras.

Buy How to Be Single from Amazon.com: Blu-ray + Digital HD / DVD + Digital / Instant Video

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Related Reviews:
New to Disc: Zoolander Zapped! Brooklyn Sisters The Night Before Anomalisa The Witch Joy
Rebel Wilson: Pain & Gain | Dakota Johnson: Black Mass | Leslie Mann: Funny People 17 Again Knocked Up I Love You Phillip Morris
Alison Brie: Sleeping with Other People The Kings of Summer | Anders Holm: The Intern Workaholics: Seasons 1 & 2
Jake Lacy: Love the Coopers Carol | Nicholas Braun: Prom 10 Things I Hate About You: Volume One
Based on Liz Tuccillo Book: He's Just Not That Into You | Directed by Christian Ditter: Love, Rosie | Written by Abby Kohn & Marc Silverstein: The Vow

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Reviewed May 21, 2016.



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