Fresh from the annals of that place where quirky relationships sprout organically between a B-list and A-list celebrity and Jessica Biel is steadily employed comes the newest relationship ensemble comedy to teach us a thing or two about relationships. How to Be Single, from the production team of Drew Barrymore and Nancy Juvonen and director Christian Ditter, is here to do business.
The film is based on a novel of the same name by former Sex and the City story editor Liz Tuccillo, centering on a 38-year-old woman living in — where else — New York City as she searches for that true love that she just can’t find. The novel concept of How to Be Single is that it isn’t relationships that should tell us about ourselves, but the time in between partners when we’re single and/or mingling. That means all the time spent setting up OK Cupid accounts, perusing the local bars for a casual fling and the entire mantra of “you do you, girlfriend” when you’ve decided to hell with it all is just as important as those two years you thought you found the one with that dude you met in college. Love!
Though the film hasn’t been cast yet, the ensemble promise (threat?) suggests an enormous pool of actors who have somehow not learned that New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day, What to Expect When You’re Expecting, and He’s Just Not That Into You (which, surprise, Tuccillo co-wrote that book as well) were maybe not the best ideas are going to show up for another round of interconnecting life lessons. Can’t wait to find out that Ashton Kutcher is too afraid of commitment to pop the question to total harpy Brooklyn Decker, who turns out to be the cousin of Mandy Moore…the nice girl from the engagement ring store who gave him the speech about having confidence at the beginning of the movie, aka his true love.
On a skeevier note, a more dude-centric brotastic ensemble is also happening with or without our consent — the adaptation of the 1970 seduction manual How to Pick Up Girls! by Eric Weber. The men’s guide to ladies more or less advocates alternatives to rape packaged as groovy pickup techniques. No, but really.
For example, if you’re a gentleman walking down the street and you see a girl you just have to have: ”Someone so absolutely stunning, so downright sexy, you actually find yourself running to catch up with her…For an instant you even consider rape.” Well, don’t actually do that, buddy! That would be about as insane as writing down your desire to rape in a book that gets published for actual people to see. Instead, impress the lady with your wild sense of style (“Bell bottoms and English boots and wide ties. Wear a body shirt or dungarees or a groovy vest…Think sexy. Think, I am a virile male animal.”) and try out a pickup line or two — “Who’s your dentist?”
Weber’s misogyny and cluelessness are a special kind of outmoded, but the seventies references will have to get updates as well for a movie in the modern day. A 1978 TV movie of the manual exists starring Desi Arnaz Jr.; Weber told Variety that “plenty has changed since then, but just as much as stayed remarkably the same.” I can’t quite put my finger on it, but something is telling me that
broads women really don’t appreciate being told that they’re “asking for it” when they’re wearing what some self-help author thinks of as revealing clothing, nor do they appreciate any of the attempts at “fondling.”
How to Pick Up Girls! has yet to be cast, either, and it will be equally fun to see who signs up for this ensemble. Are we really going to have to sit through 90 minutes of Jessica Alba getting mercilessly negged by Bradley Cooper who may or may not be wearing bell bottoms? Won’t somebody think of the Jessica Albas of the world?