Directed by: Mark Mylod (Ali G Indahouse)
Starring: Anna Faris, Chris Evans, Ari Graynor, Blythe Danner, Ed Begley Jr.
Add What’s Your Number? to the list of bad movies Anna Faris is good in. Everyone who’s sat through one of these things seems to want to see her natural onscreen likability used to better effect, something that simply isn’t likely to happen when she’s opted to appear in films like Yogi Bear (2010) and Scary Movie 1 through 15. That What’s Your Number? may be one of the best films Faris has starred in is a sobering thought. If this is the apex of her career, Lord save us from what comes next.
The basic set-up involves Ally (Faris), a recently laid-off marketing type, who—after reading an article in Marie Claire—decides that the 20 guys she’s slept with in her life are far too many. In an attempt to not raise her “number,” she decides to track down her exes to see if one of them might actually be “the one.” For help, she recruits her playboy neighbor Colin (Chris Evans). As fate would have it, Colin is the sort of guy who only seems to exist in romantic comedies, being a struggling musician with no apparent means of income who can somehow afford a fifth-floor walk-up in the middle of Boston. Of course, Ally doesn’t like Colin at first, which means we know exactly who she’ll end up with in the final reel. It’s just as ridiculously lazy and predictable as it sounds.
For a film that’s playing on the idea of being raunchy, there’s really no teeth to the comedy. We get gags about Ally’s various dysfunctional exes. We do get a short aside about a black, gay, Republican politician looking for a “beard.” (That’s a far more interesting set-up for a raunchy romcom, actually.) Where does it go? Nowhere. We also get an animated singing penis and Ed Begley Jr. making Twitter jokes. And these are the highlights of the film.
Honestly, the only thing this film has keeping me from a full-on wailing and gnashing of teeth is the cast. Faris, of course, is likable, while Chris Evans is fine playing against her. The real problem is the script. Here, we have a story about a sex-positive woman as penned by two female writers—Jennifer Crittenden and Gabrielle Allan—which should at least bring an interesting new perspective to the romcom format. But it doesn’t. Instead, we get a mix of watered-down Bridesmaids raunch and a sitcom mentality that mistakes vulgarity in search of an R rating for something genuinely funny and indecent. Even if this weren’t a movie about a woman caving in to society’s idea of what she should be, it’d still remain a wholly unfunny dud.
Rated R for sexual content and language.