A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Seriously Single is a South African romantic comedy about a woman's quest to find love. Sex and alcohol are constants here, making this most appropriate for older teens. Women end up in bed with men they barely know, but there's no nudity or graphic sex. A woman suggests that another woman give someone a "BJ." There's much talk of going to bars to "get laid." Alcohol and hangovers are rampant. Adults smoke marijuana and drink alcohol to excess. A hungover woman vomits on a client. Language includes "s--t" and "bitch."
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Dineo (Fulu Mugoyhani) is a serial monogamist who always has a boyfriend. In SERIOUSLY SINGLE, she has just broken up with someone but, while grieving the loss, seems intent on finding someone new immediately, which offers a clue about the quality of the previous relationship. She takes up with Lunga (Bohand Moeko), a guy parked next to her in a parking lot, after he beckons to her through his closed car windows waving a bottle of booze. The next day, Dineo wants to move in with him, despite his protests. As a professional social media specialist, she's constantly snapping pictures and unthinkingly posting them, sometimes when she's drunk, before she considers the consequences. Dineo stalks Lunga to learn that he's getting married to a longtime girlfriend. Dineo's best friend and roommate Noni (Tumi Morake), a vivacious partier who counsels against sleeping with the same guy twice, advises Dineo to just have lots of sex with lots of guys, to enjoy being single. Noni's hard-nosed philosophy is challenged by the affectionate Max (Yonda Thomas), who wants more than sex.
Is it any good?
This is a formulaic romcom with a lead character who's oblivious to reality and whose actions seem annoyingly self-defeating. The directors seem to have encouraged the actor portraying Dineo to overact, as if a "big" performance were the key to comedy. Seriously Single bears more than a passing resemblance to 2016's How to Be Single, down to the detail of providing the main character looking for love with a cynical and wise-cracking best friend reminiscent of the earlier movie's Rebel Wilson character.
The best part is a portrayal of a loving relationship between two female friends. But the messages are mixed. As a whole, what at first seems like an effort to applaud strong independent women in fact offers a heroine desperately looking for a husband before she ages out of sexual contention. This wallows in unpleasant stereotypes about women as either whores or saints, either desperate to marry or mindlessly seeking anonymous sex. It's all over the place on men as well, painting them as both faithless dogs who only want one thing, and sincere suitors wanting solid relationships. The overall message is that men and women treat each other as sexual toys, with alcohol the constant lubricant in this game.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what Seriously Single says about being in a relationship. Is it better to be in a relationship than to be single? Does the movie support or challenge those positions?
What role does sex play here? What does it mean to the characters? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values regarding sex and relationships.
How does the movie portray drinking? Is it glamorized? Are there realistic consequences? Why is that important?
How is this movie similar to, or different from, typical romantic comedies?
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