Slightly Single In L.A. (2013): This Is Apparently What Women Want.

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When a film is terrible, I get angry. I get angry at the film maker for making bad choices and for thinking that this was great work. If that makes me angry, what enrages me is when a film is made with elements think that I WANT to see.

Slightly Single, as far as I can tell, is a low-budget, straight to video film aimed at women, marketed as a quirky rom-com. This is not a film made because someone had a vision; it was a film made to make money. Sure, aren’t most films made to make money? But the rom-com genre is not (usually) one that cares about artistic merit. It’s about getting women’s derrier’s in seats. That should have stopped me right there, but when I have insomnia, I put on a seemingly mindless film to lull me to sleep. Instead, I stayed awake in an angry stupor in a hate-watching frenzy.

This film takes almost every cliche of single women, combined with stereotypes about Los Angeles, with some bad editing and Lacey Chabert on Ambien for the majority of the film. Something that makes me angrier about offensive portrayals are lazy offensive portrayals. What we’ve seen is not only terrible, but we’ve already seen this a lot of times. Offensive is one thing, but offensive and unoriginal is a cardinal sin.

Lacey Chabert plays Dale, a supposed cool and quirky professional lady in LA. That means her apartment looks like a Barbie Dream house, she has a narrative voiceover bemoaning her lack of luck in love in LA (say that five times fast), and comes with a cadre of colorful characters in her posse that exist solely to be supporting characters in her supposed interesting life. Cue the sassy gay friend/roommate, who exists to be flamboyant, slutty and to proclaim, you go girl! to Dale every few minutes. He’s sexless because his gayness only exists for Dale to feel safe with a man that she can relate to (i.e., go shopping and gossip with). (This part is played by Jonathan Bennet, aka, Aaron Samuels from Mean Girls, which makes me sad. Not that he is playing a gay character, but he has resorted to this low in his career.) There’s a kooky friend, a slutty mean friend, all with unlimited wardrobes and hair extensions and desire to go to generic fancy bars together.

You know what is more annoying than watching an engaged couple fight over caring about wedding plans? When that couple is played by Haylie Duff and Chris Kattan, who could NOT have less chemistry. Duff isn’t given much to work with, I’ll give her that, but the saddest tragedy is Chris Kattan. He mostly has tantrums about his fiance, but not in the great over-dramatic gestures he was able to do in SNL. It’s sad to watch him being forced to act in a way that is subdued and almost closed to what he can really do, but watching Kattan play this character in earnest is just…sad.

And then there’s Lacey Chabert. I don’t know what happened to the spunk and comedic timing that she had in Mean Girls, but she sleepwalks through this film, caked in too much makeup and unflattering lighting, playing what the director probably told her is “reserved, sensitive and tentative.” She is the center of this story, which claims she is interesting (her parents died when she was a kid, which is really the only thing I discerned from her personality), yet mumbles her lines and shows no excitement ever. It’s a miracle that any of these friends actually like her. Sadly, she also looks incredibly uncomfortable in the “love” scenes.

The main (and weak) story arc is that she is interested in Kip Pardue, a musician, but is afraid of getting hurt by dating him, lets her highly sexual friend (played by Jenna Dewan, that’s Mrs. Channing Tatum to you) throw herself on him on borderline sexual assault, asnd she continues to pretend she is okay with it and throughout the film claims to her friends she’s not into this guy. Even when her friends push her about it repeatedly, she shrugs and mumbles “it’s fine.” She also REPEATEDLY turns him down when he asks her out. So, obviously, he and everyone else thinks he she doesn’t want him. That’s the plot. HOLLYWOOD, RIGHT?

The script is deplorable, and has so many events that happen unexpectedly, only to conveniently lead to a next plot point, that makes me wonder if anyone besides the original writer gave feedback. Some of the worst offenses are:

  • When Dale introduces her life in voiceover (ugh), she regales the viewer with tales of finding every one of her boyfriends in threesomes. This happens at least three times.
  • She dates Simon Rex, a famous photographer who has a bad Italian accent and talks about his big cock. Just…no.Dale is on a date with a Hollywood douchebag, and while on a date, voice-overs, “I was not sure about this guy. Am I hesitant about dating because I am afraid I may get hurt?’ Um, yes, way to give a voiceover to explain your point. Ever heard of show, don’t tell?
  • On said date, we are treated to a “comedy” montage of Dale and her date asking rapid fire questions about the menu. Date asks “are the sprouts organic?”, “Are their carbs in the salad” because OMG HOLLYWOOD, RIGHT? Meanwhile, Dale asks questions like “Do the fries come with bacon?”, “Can I get extra cheese on my grease?” and the like because oh my god, she’s such a gross, u healthy eater, but hey, it’s charming because she is a skinny girl?
  • Dale takes photos at Kip Pardue’s band practice, and we see the still shots that she takes as she takes them. Firstly, what is this, an Olsen twins movie?
  • Dale and her friends are taking a yoga class in the park (because LA, RIGHT?) and tells her friends Jenna Dewan may stop by, which she does, with Kip Pardue, for about a minute, before she tells her friends she needs to go. It was obvious Jenna and Kip needed to show up for Dale to get jealous, but jesus christ, make it more organic than have them stop by for a minute.
  • Dale is supposed to be talented, quirky, but she’s a casting director for reality shows. NOT that there’s anything wrong with that, but how is that artistic and high brow in any way?
  • The friends are out at a club, and someone proclaims, “let’s dance”, and they all start dancing despite being the only people dancing, AND they are confined to the small area right in front of their table, as if the cameraman doesn’t understand how to move the camera.
  • Dale is over the LA scene, yet works as a casting director for crappy reality shows, and dates a guy who is a famous rock star? (Oh yea, Kip Pardue is a famous singer, because of course he is.)

These flaws are allowed, I suppose because WOMEN THINGS. WOMEN just want to see a fantasy world in which they are pretty with lots of friends and a social life living in a big city. Which is true but my god, it doesn’t mean it can’t have depth, smart writing, or god forbid some goddamn realism.

My hate for this film and its existence is like the fire of a thousand suns. I may actually like both Garden State and Elizabethtown more than this film. It may be on par with How to Lose a Guy In Ten Days. Its insulting, because the film studio thought “hey, we need a silly rom-com, can you just throw together a script?” instead of considering any of the value of artistic endeavor of a film. Yes, even I can appreciate the merit of a good rom-com (i.e., No Strings Attached, Going the Distance) but this is just an offensive to film. Wait, no, an offense to humanity.

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2 Comments

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  1. I was planning on watching this movie after seeing pictures of it online, but now that you’ve warned me I have been saved 90+ minutes of my life wasted.

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