A Single Dad & His Son on “How to Be Single”
Bruce Fretts: I took my almost 20-year-old son, Jed, to see How to Be Single, since we’re both single and we don’t have dates for Valentine’s Day. So what did you think of the movie—was it realistic?
Jed: I could definitely relate to Dakota Johnson’s character. The way she goes after guys is pretty much the same way I pursue girls. I get caught in the dicksand.
Bruce: Ok, you’d better explain what that means. It’s a concept that’s introduced by Rebel Wilson’s character, who’s Dakota Johnson’s party-hearty friend.
Jed: Dicksand is when the prospect of a relationship comes about, you just become completely enveloped in it and you don’t really think straight.
Bruce: It’s like you’re caught in quicksand.
Jed: That’s what I do. My last relationship, she put a lot of pressure on me to say, “I love you,” then when I said it, her response was, “No, you don’t.” And the day after that, I broke up with her.
Bruce: I think the problem might have been that she’s an acting student. They tend to like a lot of drama.
Jed: She also thought Deadpool was an action movie, so that was a deal breaker, too. I said we should see it, and she said, “No, it’s an action movie.” I said, “No, it’s a hilarious movie.”
Bruce: So that’s why you saw Deadpool with me last night? I think you liked it better than I did.
Jed: It’s my favorite movie ever.
Bruce: I didn’t love it for the same reason I didn’t love How to Be Single. I find little bits of Ryan Reynolds and Rebel Wilson go a long way for me. And Ryan Reynolds is really in your face all the way through Deadpool, even though his face is mostly covered by a mask. I just don’t find Ryan Reynolds or Rebel Wilson all that funny, although I liked them more here than in anything I’ve ever seen in them before.
Jed: I’m very much attracted to Rebel Wilson. It’s weird, but there’s something about her.
Bruce: That’s fine, you can be attracted to Rebel Wilson.
Jed: I like the thickies, what can I say?
Bruce: She has no trouble getting guys through the whole movie, unlike Dakota Johnson, who’s adorable, and Alison Brie, who’s even more adorable…
Jed: Dave Franco’s a lucky man. I know that from Wikipedia.
Bruce: Then there’s Leslie Mann, who’s a very attractive older woman…
Jed: You can say MILF.
Bruce: But she’s not a mom in the movie. That’s her whole storyline: She’s Dakota’s sister, and she’s never had a baby, but she’s an OB/GYN so she delivers all these babies. Then she gets pregnant on her own via IVF.
Jed: She gets into a relationship, and she’s afraid to tell him.
Bruce: I didn’t believe she could hide being pregnant from him for so long. The other thing that bothered me is it felt like a movie set in New York City by people who’d never been to New York City. It starts with Taylor Swift’s “Welcome to New York”…
Jed: Which is the ultimate tourist song.
Bruce: They keep hanging out in random neighborhoods where cool single people never go. Like, by Madison Square Garden. I think they were making up street names. Dakota Johnson says she lives at Second and Barry Street. There is no Barry Street in Manhattan, only in Staten Island and the Bronx. I know that from GoogleMaps.
Jed: I’m pretty sure they were in Jamaica, Queens at one point.
Bruce: Plus, Dakota’s character keeps saying she wants to see “the Rockefeller tree.” Nobody says that. They say “the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.” Or just “the tree.”
Jed: “That big ass tree.”
Bruce: Also, I thought the male characters were all pretty one-dimensional.
Jed: They were all assholes, pretty much.
Bruce: My favorite male character, Colin Jost’s character, was barely in it.
Jed: I love Colin Jost. And he has the same infectious smile he has on “Weekend Update,” so you think he’s got to be a great guy.
Bruce: He’s a jerk, but he does make a great joke about how Martin Luther King Day is the best holiday for a breakup. Then he’s gone. Alison Brie’s character keeps disappearing, and I wanted to see more of her.
Jed: This bartender falls in love with her, and she’s just gotten into a great relationship with Jason Mantzoukas’ character. So you’re supposed to root for her to get together with the bartender? It was very confusing.
Bruce: The three giggling teenage girls in the row in front of us, who were not old enough to see an R-rated movie on their own and were texting through the entire movie, gasped in horror when they kissed because Jason’s not a conventionally handsome guy.
Jed: I’m used to seeing him as Rafi on The League, so I was a little alarmed that he wasn’t acting crazy.
Bruce: He usually plays jerks, so it was good to see him play a nice guy for once. The weirdest thing about the movie is they make a big deal out of different holidays, like how hard it is to be alone over Christmas, but they make Santa Con and St. Patrick’s Day look like really fun times in the city.
Jed: Those are the most terrifying times to be in the subway.
Bruce: You should avoid the city on those days because you’re going to get vomited on. Believe me, I speak from experience. They skip from Christmas to St. Patrick’s Day because they want to flash forward three months in Dakota’s relationship with Damon Wayans Jr.’s character, who’s a widower that introduces her to his daughter, then gets upset when she bonds with the kid because she’s not her mother.
Jed: That made no sense. She’s happy—we can’t have that!
Bruce: So they totally skip over Valentine’s Day! This movie is coming out on Valentine’s Day weekend, obviously capitalizing on the holiday, yet they don’t cover how it sucks to be single on Valentine’s Day. As you and I both know.
Jed: Yup. I was happy with the moral, though, because not everybody ended up in a relationship. And they were happy anyway.
Bruce: That makes me feel a little bit better about being alone on Valentine’s Day. Except I’m not alone because I have you and your sister and our dog, Clementine.
Jed: And I have Tinder.
Bruce: We both do.