• Gareth Crook

Singles (1992) - 5/10

Singles feels like an episode of Friends, minus the canned laughter and added grunge soundtrack plus lots of silly hats. That’s to say we’re faced with a cast of 20 somethings navigating the world… or at least Seattle. The hats I can’t explain. Linda (Kyra Sedgwick) is single, dances to Pearl Jam. Same for Steve (Campbell Scott, no me neither, looks a bit like Elijah Wood) who likes to talk directly to camera, because it’s the 90s and we’re trying to be edgy. We go on like this adding to the cast that includes Bridget Fonda, Matt Dillon, Bill Pullman, Eric Stoltz, Paul Giamatti, Chris Cornell and half of Pearl Jam, promising names. I’m sensing disappointment though, largely because half of these are at the start of their careers and are criminally underused. Not Pearl Jam, they’re here because they’d already struck gold. I’ve not watched this before. Maybe it seemed good in ‘92 but it’s aged terribly… like Friends. We do get a nice interlude with Alice in Chains playing a club which is superb and threatens to take over the 10 minute sequence it soundtracks. It’s got power and substance (and sounds better than Soundgarden who appear later). The rest of this feels like listless surface fluff. Steve is a traffic planner. Linda is, you know what I’ve forgotten already but something to do with the environment, but they both like talking, about their feelings, their lives, the songs they love. The music feels like the only glue, with a dizzying amount of needle drops from REM, The Cult, Jane’s Addiction, Pixies, Soundgarden, Screaming Trees, Smashing Pumpkins. It’s clearly trying to be cool. An execs idea of how this ‘demographic’ behaves. All our singles are looking for love, Janet (Fonda) fancies Cliff (Dillon). Steve fancies Linda yada yada yada, that’s about the size of it. It’s like When Harry Met Sally, but more muddled, better music and no Billy Crystal, which means despite it trying to be funny in places, it’s not. It’s awkward and quite annoying. Take the nostalgia away from this and it’s pretty thin, but it does have some enjoyable moments, fleeting as they are and it is sweet in a way. It’s still pretty terrible though.

5/10