What’s Better: How To Be Single

My vote goes to the movie. While my review of the book may not have indicated that I was not really a fan, I wasn’t. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great when you’re in the mood for something light and frivolous to read. All the things I said in the review are still true, especially that it didn’t move me. And only the essay/letter in the beginning was memorable.

I think the key difference is the lack of world traveling and the obnoxious circumstances of Julie Jenson. The book focuses on the travel and mentions the protagonist’s friends as she keeps up with their circumstances. The movie remains in New York and keeps up with the characters who had been the friends in the original. But there’s no Julie Jenson, so they had to have entirely different circumstances to bring them together. This was done rather brilliantly, in my opinion.

Okay, the movie was still indulgent (as in fun without venturing into earth shattering) and had an all-white cast, but it was based on the book in some part so I can’t hold that entirely against it. It also maintained most of the issues and story arcs that the girlfriends were going through. The outcomes weren’t identical, but the feeling was the same. And the final point was the same.

How you are single is vastly more important than why you are single. I totally support changing the question to this. I missed the letter in the beginning and wish it could have been an opening statement to the movie, like with the opening credits.

The men in the movie were also far better than the men in the book. Tom is awesome. I can’t tell you how many guys I’ve known like him and how many times I’ve seen his arc happen. I steadily grew to hate Josh, though he was such a nice guy in the beginning. David broke my heart in so many ways. His final scene of the movie was amazing and one of the better moments. But it was Ken that stole my heart.

Okay, I might be married to Ken in real life. Every line got me. Like, all of them. He’s vulnerable and awkward, but he’s also the bravest character. He’s the only one that knew that he was strong enough to get past a hurt and brave enough to be willing to get hurt. He put himself out there. He stood in the arena, in every single scene. Watching the movie while more than half through Rising Strong may have influenced that explanation, but it’s still true.

Contrary to the book, the women were a lot of fun. The women in the book were okay, but mostly struggling in ways that were just sad to me. Maybe it’s because I was never single long enough to feel desperate for a man. That’s not to brag, I just wasn’t, so I couldn’t connect with the kind of desperation that the book held. It felt fake and forced to me. It felt like they were just being stereotypes of desperate women. The women in the movie had made choices that were good or bad for them, but they were their own choices. Also, there were moments that genuinely moved me. Mostly they were scenes with David or Ken. I felt like the characters were doing the best that they could and that they were taking care of themselves and setting boundaries the best that they could. And the movie made me laugh, a lot. Yeah, I’m back to Ken. Look, if you watched the movie already, it’s his response to the big reveal in his arc. But he wasn’t the only one. Lucy’s story-time scene was hilarious and close to epic. Okay, the Spanx brought it to epic.

I had seen some reviews that said this was just a lot of drunken sex and that was all there was to the movie and I totally disagree. I mean, there was a lot of drunken sex, but there was quite a bit of real story too. And yes, I have a fundamental problem with the outlook that buying drinks for women is a currency substituted for outright paying women for sex. I know a lot of people believe this and therefore act accordingly, but it isn’t right. It doesn’t make up for unequal pay (far from it especially when you add in the cost of all the crap we have to wear to just to entice men to buy those drinks) and it doesn’t make men seem like they can “take care of us” even if that was what we wanted out of the exchange. It shouldn’t be seen as an obligation to have sex once a certain number of drinks have been purchased, or that ridiculous drink number mentioned in one scene. Robin’s explanation (which did make a modicum of sense) was totally convoluted by Alice later on. No one is ever obligated to have sex. Ever. Rant over.

I did miss Judy Greer. In her absence, though, we were given Leslie Mann and Rebel Wilson. They are two perfectly good reasons to see the movie alone and both gave great performances.

The recommendation on the movie is a little different from the book, but that isn’t a surprise. I had recommended the book to anyone in the mood for a light read or listen for an audiobook. As for the movie, if you like Pitch Perfect or The Sweetest Thing, you’ll probably like this one too. It has that amazing humor that the other two had captured.

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