Anna Faris, Chris Pratt, Chris Evans, Andy Samberg, Ari Graynor, Ed Begley Jr., Mike Vogel, Zachary Quinto
Gabrielle Allan, Jennifer Crittenden and Karyn Bosnak
20th Century Fox
Deleted Scenes & Flashback Dates;
I like Anna Faris. Apparently, director Mark Mylod does not.
What could have been a funny, insightful and even intelligent look at the role our sexual past plays upon our romantic future is, unfortunately, a lazy and unimaginative one-note comedy that capitalizes more on Faris's beauty than her brains. The problem with this approach is that Faris is, if you've been paying attention to her career, a talented actress and comedienne. While she often gets pegged in the ditzy blonde roles, with the right director she's going to be a cinematic goldmine.
Mark Mylod is not the right director.
Ally (Faris) is a beautiful girl who is desperate to find Mr. Right. The problem is that Ally, who seems to listen to everyone but herself, is starting to think she's unworthy of love because a magazine pretty much tells her so. This magazine pronounces boldly that once a woman has reached 20 sex partners without finding "the right one," the odds are pretty strong that they never will.
You guessed it. Ally is at # 19.
With her sister on the verge of getting married, Ally decides to avoid crossing the 20 threshold by turning back time and chasing down her ex-boyfriends in hopes of finding the one she shouldn't have left behind. Her partner on this journey is Colin (Chris Evans, Captain America), a playboy who lives down the hall from her and frequently hides out in her place until his "woman of the day" disappears.
One has the feeling that in the hands of most actresses, What's Your Number? would be utterly unwatchable. It still has quite a few unwatchable scenes and, for that matter, too many scenes as even at 106 minutes the film feels a good 15-20 minutes too long. It doesn't help that the film's ending is painfully cliche'd, but through it all Anna Faris is a relentless comic force who wrings just about every laugh she possibly can out of the material based upon a book by Karyn Bosnak.
In a year that gave us the terrific fem-centric comedy Bridesmaids, What's Your Number? feels so much like a retread that you half expect Katherine Heigl or Gerard Butler to show up at some point.
I don't have to tell you how the film ends up, do I?
Along the way to the inevitable and obvious conclusion, Ally will encounter a garden variety of exes that include such warped dudes as a ventriloquist (Andy Samberg) whose dummy watched them having sex, a gynecologist (Thomas Lennon) whose funniest scene is in the trailer, an Englishman (Martin Freeman) and, of course, a man (Anthony Mackie) who realized after dating her that he's gay.
Anna Faris is not only above this type of stupid material, but one has the distinct feeling that she could have, if given more creative freedom by Mylod, risen above the material and turned this film into a keeper. There are scenes here that work purely on the strength of Faris's absolute willingness to serve up high energy, brazen comedy that you just have to laugh at because Faris simply makes you. While this performance by Evans reaches nowhere near the heights of his winning turn in Captain America, there are times that he too makes this film a heck of a lot better simply by being on the screen.
While What's Your Number? is far from awful, it's nowhere near the movie it should be and only diehard fans of Faris and/or Evans should even consider catching it in theatres ... even then, a matinee is a must. The one surefire way that Anna Faris can make sure she dials up Mr. Right is to make sure she never takes him to see this film.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic