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‘Better Off Single’ (review)

Produced by Tracey Becker,
Nadav Besner, Russell Carpenter
Written and Directed by Benjamin Cox
Starring Aaron Tveit, Abby Elliott,
Shane McRae,
Lauren Miller, Kal Penn,
Lewis Black, Jason Ralph,
Kelen Coleman,
Jessica Rothe, Haviland Morris,
Brooks Wheelan, Chris Elliott

 

I love a good rom-com. Watching the corniness of two people falling love and doing an awkward dance until they finally face their feelings by taking the next step in their relationships somehow brings a smile to my face.But over the years, rom-coms have become a bit of a bore; telling the same story over-and-over until you confuse one for another.

Say hello to Better Off Single, the latest rom-com that tries its best to be original, but only succeeds at being annoying.

The always miscast Aaron Tveit plays Charlie, a hopeless romantic who never found long-lasting love until he finally meets Angela. Despite being in love with or at least being in love with the idea of love, Charlie and Angela’s relationship meets its demise during an uncomfortable night at dinner. While their breakup had it coming, Charlie seems to be lost without her, lost without anyone really. Even though it would be beneficial for Charlie to take time off from dating, he believes he should do the opposite and forcefully try to find love.

Depressed, displeased, by work and unable to move on from Angela, he enlists the help of one of his obnoxious friends, Brice (Kal Penn), to help him get back in the dating field, even though he knows taking dating advice from a bitter divorcee isn’t the best idea. However, moving on is easier said than done as he goes through a series of dates that are more disastrous than the last.

Told through a series of flashbacks, Aaron Sorkin-wannabe writing pace, and questionable editing style, the film tries to distract viewers from its painfully underwhelming writing and poor acting. What starts off with promise soon implodes into a mess that jars the audience from one scene to the next.

What made other rom-coms successful or even watchable is the likability of the characters. Charlie is boring, self-absorbed, and judgmental. Even when he has the best intentions, he’s allergic to be around. It’s hard to feel sympathetic towards someone who constantly thinks about himself even when others are going through more trying times. Kal Penn, who usually can do no wrong, is made into an sex-addict who encourages his friend to blindly treat women as sex objects. Bitter from his divorce, he is cancerous to be around and watch.

There is no redeemable quality about this film. By the third act, you’re so exhausted from the unevenness and immature writing and editing that you no longer care about Charlie’s relationship (or lack of one). This is unfortunate, since the film at first tries so desperately to say something original about our dating culture. Disjointed, sloppy, and at times disrespectful to the film industry, this is one rom-com that deserves to never find love.

 

Better Off Single is now available on Digital HD.

 

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