Even with all this talent and experience, the movie still fails miserably because it’s trying too hard to use R-rated comedy to hide the fact that the script is bland and uninteresting.
What is most disappointing about What’s Your Number? is that Anna Faris, an extremely talented comedic actress, is the star. Faris is too good for a movie with such a low opinion of itself and its audience. Since her breakout role in 2000’s Scary Movie, Faris has consistently given terrific performances in roles both big and small. Considering she is one of the most talented comedians working today, it’s a shame she would take on such an uninspired project.
Faris stars as Ally Darling, a young woman living in Boston who loses her boyfriend and job in the same day. On her way home from being sacked by her creepy boss (Joel McHale), Ally reads an article that says women who have slept with 20 or more men have a much less likely chance of finding a husband. Ally works up a list of her sexual partners and realizes she’s at 19 and vows to not sleep with anyone else until she finds her husband.
With the help of her lothario neighbor, Colin (Chris Evans), Ally tries to track down the men she has slept with to see if any of them are husband material. As expected, Ally and Colin begin to develop feelings for each other, but complications arise and they are soon not speaking.
What’s Your Number? should have been an enjoyable and entertaining experience. Director Mark Mylod has worked on Entourage and the Showtime series Shameless. Screenwriter Gabrielle Allan has written for Scrubs and her co-writer Jennifer Crittenden has written for Everybody Loves Raymond and Seinfeld (!). The cast, which includes Andy Samberg, Thomas Lennon, and Anthony Mackie, is solid and usually reliable.
Even with all this talent and experience, the movie still fails miserably because it’s trying too hard to use R-rated comedy to hide the fact that the script is bland and uninteresting. Ally reads in a magazine that if she’s slept with 20 men she might not find a husband. Who cares? Who listens to those articles anyway? The entire plot is predicated on a theory most women would ignore. Mylod tries to inject too much Apatow-esque humor into the movie in an attempt to distract the audience from the poor writing and ludicrous action.
Faris deserves much better than this. She has proven herself to be a great comedic asset in films like Lost in Translation, The House Bunny and Smiley Face, but What’s Your Number? seems to indicate she may be following in the footsteps of Kate Hudson down the road of awful romantic comedies which will be forgotten the moment they leave the theaters. With luck, Faris will re-assess her career and make some adjustments quickly.
The only redeeming aspect of the film is the chemistry between Faris and Evans. Surprisingly, they play off each other quite well and are believable as friends who develop more serious feelings for each other. The scenes featuring the two actors are some of the only ones in the film that aren’t excruciating to watch. | Matthew Newlin