Aug. 27, 2013
Slightly Single In L.A. stars Lacey Chabert as Dale, a woman who
swears off romantic relationships in Los Angeles because she wants something
real. Her longtime friend, rock star Zach (Kip Pardue), is clearly interested
in her, and she’s interested in him. And though everyone can see that they
should be together, it takes more than eighty minutes for it to happen. That’s
typical romantic comedy stuff, and it’s to be expected, but this film holds no
surprises whatsoever. It’s completely predictable and simplistic.
I am not automatically
against narration, as many people are, because it's been used really well in
a number of films. This is not one of those films. The film opens with voice
over by Dale: “I always forget stuff when
I walk out the door. If any of my ex-boyfriends had picked up on that, perhaps
things would have turned out differently.” So then we see a montage of her
returning to her apartment to pick up whatever it was she forgot, only to find
her current boyfriend in bed with another person. What – the moment she leaves,
someone sneaks into her home to screw her boyfriend? And this was before she
moved to Los Angeles. Also, though her forgetting things happens several other
times in the film, it’s never anything important, never anything crucial to the
story. And she always remembers the item in just a few seconds (in fact,
another character counts the seconds before she returns) – so again, were her
ex-boyfriends’ lovers waiting patiently in the closet for her to leave? This is
a detail that is harped on, but is ultimately irrelevant.
Now in L.A. she is dating
J.P., who wants her to suck his toes, and who is also clearly seeing other
people. So not much has changed. Why does everyone cheat on her? The movie
seems to take the stance that most guys are awful. But if that happened to you,
after a while wouldn’t you question yourself, and wonder if perhaps there is
something about you that drives men to seek affection elsewhere? There is no such self-searching in this film.
Perhaps that is because
all of the characters Dale surrounds herself with are shallow and obnoxious.
We’re introduced to each of them, and their names appear on the screen: Seven
(her gay roommate), Becca (who right away reads on the internet that J.P. has
impregnated a model, which is convenient), Hallie (who at one point is
described as a “fame whore”), and
Jill (the most irritating of them all). This is one of those movies about Los
Angeles where you hate basically everyone, where the worst qualities of people
in this city are exaggerated. (In the DVD’s special features, writer/director
Christie Will says, “I quite love Los
Angeles, so I wanted to do kind of a ‘I
Love LA’ type of movie.” That is shocking, because everything about this
film says, “I fucking hate this city.”)
There are, however, some funny moments, some good
moments. The first laugh for me comes during Jill’s introduction. She announces
that she’s getting married, and we see a flashback of the supposed proposal.
Chris Kattan plays Drew, the man that Jill bullies into getting engaged to her.
Drew is one of the few likeable characters in the film. Chris Kattan is the
most refreshing presence in the movie, and I wanted a lot more of him.
I also really like the joke about street cleaning. Becca
is crying because there is a boot on her car. She whines, “Every Monday I have to get up and move my car before nine a.m. Nine
a.m.!” That’s actually a wonderful moment, and Carly Schroeder as Becca
does a great job with it.
The film touches upon some of the same elements as L.A. Story, such as restaurant patrons
giving difficult, specific orders, and driving a short distance rather than
walking. But L.A. Story handles this
stuff much better.
One of the big problems
with the film is the narration. There really is no subtext in this film.
Everything is text. Even when Zach tells Dale he loves her, we have a whole
seen of narration by Dale in which she realizes she loves him too and says she
wants one more chance. Geez, enough already! But the biggest problem is that
you just don’t care about any of these people. You know from the first scenes
that Dale and Zach will end up together, but neither of them is really fleshed
out as a character. I don’t think it’s the fault of the actors, for I’ve seen
both Lacey Chabert and Kip Pardue turn in quite good performances in other
films (Kip Pardue was excellent in The
Rules Of Attraction, for example). It’s the script. In Zach’s first scene
he tells Dale he’s going out on tour, but then that tour keeps conveniently
getting pushed back. That itself is odd, because a tour is many dates. One or
two dates getting changed is believable. But a whole tour? And if he’s never
going on tour (he never does), then why mention that he’s going on tour in his
And at the end, there is
something that is so ridiculous that I waited for an explanation. None came.
What happens is a limousine pulls up outside a church, and two very young girls
step out for their first communion. No parents, no other adults or even
children in sight. Then Dale’s friends get in the limo, and it drives away.
What? Seriously, what?
Slightly Single In L.A. was written and directed by Christie Will.
The DVD’s special feature, “Meet The Director,” is a thirteen-minute interview
with her. In that interview, she says this is her first screenplay, and her
first time directing. Also, we learn the film is loosely based on her life, and
on people she’s known. She even knew someone named Seven. She says that someone
wisely told her to write what you know. Well, sure, but someone else should
have told her that it still needs to be a good story with interesting
Slightly Single In L.A. is scheduled to be released on Blu-ray and
DVD on September 3, 2013 through Well Go USA Entertainment.