The phrase "chick flick" seems to be on its way out, but I'd like to stand up and endorse its continuing use as an indicator of terrible movies. Not for dopey guys to dismiss anything that doesn't fall within a narrow definition of masculinity, but for women to identify the worst kinds of movies marketed to them: cynical, wit-free product that has nothing to offer but a collection of the oldest, lamest stereotypes and tropes about what "chicks" want to see in a movie. Slightly Single in L.A. is a perfect example: it's a hackneyed, headache-inducing comedy that trots out dead horses like the Perpetually Single Girl / Cute Platonic Guy Friend and the Sassy Gay Neighbor, with all the nuance, subtlety, and insight of a "women be shopping" joke.
Not even a minute has gone by before the movie trots out its first cliche: Dale (Lacey Chabert) walks back into her house looking for her cell phone to discover that her boyfriend is cheating on her with her best friend! Then the movie ups the ante when she discovers her next boyfriend sleeping with another man. Fed up by a string of heartbreak, Dale moves to Los Angeles for slightly confusing reasons (she explains in tired voice-over that she'll be happy to have some flings, but it reads like sarcasm, and when we catch up with her there a minute later, she's already disappointed that she hasn't found something more long-term than an Italian photographer (Simon Rex) who sleeps with his models behind her back.
Over the course of the first 10 or 15 minutes, Dale starts introducing characters and doesn't seem to stop. The four that are important are her two best friends, Hallie (Jenna Dewan) and Becca (Carly Schroeder), the aforementioned gay neighbor, Seven (Jonathan Bennett), and Zach (Kip Pardue), a handsome rock star who Dale knew before his big break. Meanwhile, Dale's sister Jill (Haylie Duff) hovers over her shoulder while she plans her wedding to Drew (Chris Kattan). Other than the flimsy conflict -- Dale is single in Los Angeles -- and the blatantly obvious resolution hovering patiently on the horizon, there is nothing to propel the viewer through even 88 measly minutes but the movie's dire excuse for comedy.
Topics mined for humor will not surprise anyone with their inventiveness, considering they all come out of a joke book from the 1950s. Women are concerned about whether or not their butts are too big! Hollywood is a vapid place! Gay guys are emotionally over-the-top and love making catty comments! Women are inherently jealous of one another! The closest the movie comes to surprise is Kattan shouting his desire to have anal sex at Duff in a public park. As per Hollywood's rules for writing female protagonists, Dale is often awkward and clumsy, although director / screenwriter Christie Will shakes that innocence up by making Dale just as judgmental as her friends, looking down on "bimbos" in a club bathroom, and rolling her eyes internally at the people who come in to audition for the reality show she works on (a show she refers to as "retarded"). Directorially, Will has no cards up her sleeve, either, unable to hide the movie's limitations through clever lighting or framing. Clubs that should theoretically be hip and stylish look small and empty, props appear cheap (fake money!), and one or two slightly ambitious transitions are foiled by awkward execution. The performers do what's asked of them to the best of their ability (Pardue looks entirely unsure of what to do on stage), but nobody rises above contemptible material.
As the film builds toward a climax, it twists itself around to hit not only the traditional romantic comedy bases but also to allow Dale to fight with her friends in a bit of soap opera-level "drama." Through the film's definition of quality, Slightly Single in L.A. paints a picture of its intended audience that is far from pleasant: a vapid viewer unconcerned with the nuances of story who would be entertained by an hour and a half of women acting clueless, self-centered, and mean, as long as everything works out in the end. It's so insistently simplistic that the best way to summarize it is a joke worthy of the movie: this is zero-calorie entertainment.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: a grid of photos is the 21st century "floating heads," especially on Blu-Ray covers with 25% less vertical space for designers to utilize, and even moreso when dealing with a large ensemble cast. Slightly Single in L.A. settles for a particularly generic version of it, with hot pink borders to insistently remind consumers that this movie is being marketed at women. The art is slipped inside an eco-friendly Vortex case, and there is no insert.
The Video and Audio
Presented in 1.78:1 1080p AVC and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, this is a wholly unremarkable Blu-Ray presentation. The image is crisp and well-defined, with well-rendered colors, but the digital image has no photographic texture to speak of -- looks like a low-budget 2013 release. The one plus for this beyond the middle of the road is the lack of banding, artifacting, or other compression issues. Sound is cleanly separated but has no immersive or nuanced qualities; generic-sounding music and sound effects come in from the side and rear channels, and crisp dialogue is directed straight down the middle. Picks up slightly when the music is a "performance" and not a track on the soundtrack, but the difference is minor. A flawless, yet unmistakably flavorless presentation.
A single interview featurette entitled "Meet the Director" (13:33) is included. She explains her thoughts that went into making the movie.
Trailers for And While We Were Here, Not Suitable For Children, and Triple Dog play before the main menu.
Awful. Not every movie needs to be Wildly original, cinematically dazzling, or deeply insightful, but Slightly Single in L.A. is an ugly caricature of the basest idea of women are like and / or want out of a movie. Skip it.
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