How to Be Single

Rebel Wilson, Dakota Johnson star in chick flick that relies on stale stereotypes and warmed-over plot points

Dakota Johnson, left, and Rebel Wilson in 'How to Be Single.' Credit: Barry Wetcher

Will someone please get busy and put Rebel Wilson in a movie worthy of her cheeky talents? How to Be Single is so not it. It’s chickbait for Valentine’s weekend filmgoing when dudes will presumably get their rocks off with Deadpool. Ladies, I sympathize. And though Wilson is always reason enough to see a movie, she’s stuck here in a fluffball that plays like warmed-over subplots from  Sex and the City.

The script by Abby Kohn, Marc Silverstein and Dana Fox is based on a book by Liz Tuccillo who wrote for that estrogen-fueled HBO series. Wilson plays Robin, a firecracker who works reception at a New York law firm but works harder at getting drunk off her ass and screwing whatever guy is handy. Unfortunately, the movie defines her job as showing the partytime ropes to newbie Alice (Dakota Johnson, finding glints of mischief in a meh role). Alice has called a time-out with her college boyfriend Josh (a terrific Nicolas Braun) and come to Manhattan to live, live, live! She starts out with Tom (Anders Holm), a studly commitment-phobe bartender who finds himself falling for Lucy (Alison Brie), the marriage-minded babe who lives over his bar. Then there’s Meg (the always welcome Leslie Mann), Alice’s OB/GYN sister who  meets right-guy Ken (Jake Lacy) just after she tries to have a baby by artificial insemination. As for Alice, just after dating single dad David (Damon Wayans Jr.), she starts wondering what her old boyfriend Josh is doing. He’s otherwise engaged. You should be, too. And where is Robin in all this? Good question. Director Christian Ditter makes the boneheaded decision to put all these clichéd characters in constant spin-cycle while leaving Wilson on the periphery. No one puts Rebel Wilson in a corner. It’s a lesson How to Be Single learns the hard way.