After some non-radical genre exploration, including Hang Out (2016) and Target (2018), writer/director/actor/stand-up comedian, Raditya Dika surprisingly takes a more conventional route, following up his 2015 hit, Single with a sequel titled Single Part 2. The move really is beyond expectation given Dika’s recent penchant to experiment and, especially, given his new real-life status as a husband and a father. However, Single Part 2, albeit irrelevant, is basically a better work than the predecessor.
A self-pity rom-com is basically the whole plot of Single, which centers on Raditya Dika’s character, Ebi. In the first movie, Ebi meets Angel (Annisa Rawles) and thinks that he’s in love with her. After some struggles, Ebi eventually had the chance to ask Angel out. We thought the story was happily ever after back then; however, Single Part 2 proves otherwise. The breakthrough at the end of the first of movie is merely a gateway to a new problem: Ebi’s failing self-confidence. Years changes, season changes, even Ebi’s best friends from the first movie—Wawan (Pandji Pragiwaksono) and Victor (Babe Cabiita)—have finally ended their single phase and decided to get married, but, Ebi’s still swallowing his own words every time he’s about the express his love towards Angel. Who knows that Single Part 2 shifts the focus from the seek for the first love to the seek for the self-confidence to save Ebi’s ass from the evil friendzone?
It’s actually enticing to see how Dika plan how the narrative moves forward. Ebi is pictured as an old bachelor—a title that holds more subtexts than the whole movie. Most of the time, we are shown to how Ebi attempts to boost his self-confidence and beat the cat that always gets his tongue in a series of comedic sketches. He will visit his married young brother and have some nights out, before his brother shows particular concern; at some moments, Ebi will also hang out with a cringe-worthy support group of single bachelor. While his best friends from the first movie have moved on with their life, Ebi befriends another two chaps—a proud single who loves mocking other single persons, Nardi (Ridwan Remin), and a newlywed, Johan (Yoga Arizona).
The seek for self-confidence in Single Part 2 gets more interesting when it probes another source of internal conflict, which might make the whole rom-com saga more intriguing. However, the writer-director loves to dabble in some moments a little bit too long, making the third act, which supposedly to be the ironic climax of the whole quest feels a little rushed off. Some comedic sketches could’ve been trimmed out to focus more on the drama; yet, even so, the drama elements in Part 2 is way more mature and integral compared to the first movie. In the end, the whole narrative plan seems to edge in to one option only: another sequel. They’d better have a more profound story to top this, if they really plan out another sequel.
It’s true that Raditya Dika finds a better rhythm and theme to follow up his self-pity tour de force, Single, with a more mature conflict. His whole plan works warmly; some parts of the rom-coms really hit the nerves. However, there’s no doubt that the symptoms of Dika’s repetitive single-themed comedy fatigue becomes more apparent. At least, he needs to work harder to come up with a more profound yet less sensational force to wrap the story that has grown to saga.
Single Part 2 (2019)
Comedy, Romance Directed by: Raditya Dika Written by: Raditya Dika, Sunil Soraya, Donny Dhirgantoro Starred by: Raditya Dika, Annisa Rawles, Ridwan Remin, Yoga Arizona Runtime: 128 mins