How to Be Single

How to Be Single Information

How to Be Single is a 2016 American romantic comedy film directed by Christian Ditter and written by Abby Kohn, Marc Silverstein and Dana Fox, based on the novel of the same name by Liz Tuccillo. It stars Dakota Johnson, Rebel Wilson, Alison Brie, Leslie Mann, Damon Wayans Jr., Anders Holm, Nicholas Braun, Jake Lacy and Jason Mantzoukas. It was released on February 12, 2016, by Warner Bros. Pictures.


Alice (Dakota Johnson) temporarily dumps her college boyfriend Josh (Nicholas Braun) and moves to New York City to be a paralegal. She moves in with her sister, Meg (Leslie Mann), an OB/GYN who refuses to have a baby or any form of relationship. Alice befriends wild co-worker Robin (Rebel Wilson), who enjoys partying and one-night stands, and local bartender Tom (Anders Holm), who willfully embraces the bachelor lifestyle and hooks up with various women including Alice. Tom meets Lucy (Alison Brie) at his bar when she uses his Internet for free; she explains she is looking for "The One" using various dating sites.

Alice meets with Josh at one of their favorite restaurants to tell him that she is now ready to get back together with him. Josh explains that they cannot because he is seeing someone else and rejects her bluntly, which distresses Alice. Meanwhile, Meg has a change of heart while briefly watching over a baby, and she decides to have a child of her own via a sperm donor.

Shortly after learning she is pregnant, Meg unexpectedly hooks up with a younger man, Ken (Jake Lacy), after meeting him at Alice's office Christmas Party. Ken who is the law office receptionist, is smitten with her. She repeatedly tries to break it off, but he continues to pursue her cutely. Thinking Ken is too young for her to have a future with, she hides the pregnancy from him.

Back at Tom's bar, Lucy has a string of horrible dates, at which point Tom realizes that he has feelings for her. Meanwhile, Alice continues to pine after Josh while her sister kindles her own relationship. In an attempt to put herself out there, she attends a Wesleyan alumni networking event, where she hits it off with a man named David (Damon Wayans, Jr.).

Lucy, having been in a relationship for three weeks with a man named Paul, goes to Grand Central Station to send him off to the train. Paul reveals that he has been seeing other people, thinking she was doing the same, and breaks up with her. Lucy, extremely agitated, breaks down at her volunteer job reading stories to children. George (Jason Mantzoukas), who works at the bookstore, soothes her and the two begin a relationship.

Alice and Robin attend Josh's winter holiday party; however, Alice finds she cannot watch Josh with his new girlfriend. Walking alone, she runs into David, who shows her a private view of the Rockefeller Christmas tree. Dazzled, Alice thanks him and they begin a relationship. Three months later, as she is singing "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" with David's daughter, Phoebe, David becomes upset with Alice, reminding her sternly that she's not Phoebe's mother. David then reveals to her that his wife died two years ago and he believes it's too soon for Phoebe to have a stepmother to replace her. David and Alice then break up as a result.

On St. Patrick's Day, Alice bumps into Josh and his parents, and he appears pleasantly surprised to see her. Lucy comes to Tom's bar and shows him the swanky outfit she got for herself to share with George, whom she introduces to Tom. Tom becomes visibly upset, and he invites Alice to get drunk. The two talk about their frustrations with their feelings for Josh and Lucy and end up sleeping together in an attempt to distract themselves. Meanwhile, Ken discovers Meg is pregnant but is eager to help raise her child. Meg, concerned to believe that he is not truly committed, ends the relationship, with Ken walking away.

Later, at Alice's birthday party, Robin has invited Tom, David, and Josh without Alice's knowledge, as she thought it would be funny. Shaken by the presence of all three men, Alice argues with Robin, which ultimately leads to both of them avoiding each other. In the meantime, Tom confesses his feelings for Lucy to her, but she announces that she is engaged to George, who warns him to stay away from her. Josh then approached Alice, who was now sitting on the fire escape, overwhelmed by all the chaos. The two then make out passionately but stop when Josh horrifies Alice by stating that he is now engaged and was merely looking for closure with her. Invigorated by a desire to find herself, Alice leaves to go home. Her cab hits Robin, who purposely jumped on the windshield to get a cab for Meg, who is now in labor. Alice and Meg rush to the hospital, where Meg successfully delivers a baby girl, naming her Madeline. Ken appears and convinces her to re-enter their relationship, while Alice repairs her relationship with Robin, who reveals herself to be wealthy, owning an entire floor of an apartment complex.

The film closes with Alice reflecting on her time living alone and being single. Tom is seen repairing his tap water plumbing, which he had purposely cut in an attempt to prevent hungover women from hanging around his apartment. Meg and Ken are playing with Madeline, and Robin is continuing her partying. Lucy marries George, and David tells his daughter the truth about her mother's death. Finally, Alice is seen hiking the Grand Canyon by herself so that she can witness the sunrise on New Year's Day: a dream she always had.



The film rights for the Liz Tuccillo novel were purchased in 2008, the same year as the books publication. Drew Barrymore was initially attached to direct however she was replaced in 2013 with Christian Ditter.

Lily Collins was in early talks on February 24, 2014, to join the cast of the film. Alison Brie was in talks to join the film on June 19, 2014. Dakota Johnson, Rebel Wilson, and Leslie Mann were all cast in the film on January 29, 2015. Damon Wayans, Jr. was added to the cast on March 6, 2015. Jason Mantzoukas and Nicholas Braun were also cast, on April 14, 2015; Braun played the love interest of Johnson's character, while Mantzoukas played the love interest of Brie's. Anders Holm was cast as Tom, and Saturday Night Live performer Colin Jost was also cast in a supporting role.

Principal photography began on April 20, 2015 in New York City, and ended on June 25, 2015.


Box office

How to Be Single grossed $46.8 million in the United States and Canada and $65.3 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $112.1 million, against a production budget of $38 million.

The film opened alongside Deadpool and Zoolander 2 and over its four-day President's Day opening weekend was projected to gross $20-25 million from 3,343 theaters. The film made $700,000 from its Thursday night previews and $5.3 million on its first day. It went on to gross $17.9 million in its opening weekend, finishing third at the box office behind Deadpool ($132.8 million) and Kung Fu Panda 3 ($19.8 million). In its second weekend the film grossed $8.2 million (a 54% drop), finishing fifth at the box office.

Critical response

On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 47% based on 138 reviews, with an average rating of 5.2/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "How to Be Single boasts the rough outline of a feminist rom-com, but too willingly indulges in the genre conventions it wants to subvert." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 51 out of 100 based on 32 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale.

Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun Times gave the film three-and-a-half out of four stars, praising the film's supporting cast and script.

Awards and nominations

People's Choice Awards nominated it as Favorite Comedic Movie, but it lost to Bad Moms.

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