Reviewed by GREG KING
Director: Mike Mylod
Stars: Anna Faris, Chris Evans, Dave Annable, Ari Graynor, Martin Freeman, Zachary Quinto, Andy Shamberg, Anthony Mackie, Thomas Lennon, Chris Pratt.
What’s Your Number? is the latest in the long line of potty-mouthed raunchy romantic comedies, following on the heels of Friends With Benefits, No Strings Attached, and Bridesmaids.
Anna Faris plays Ally Darling, the recently unemployed ditzy, blowsy, loud, sexually voracious but unlucky in love blonde. In the lead up to the wedding of her sister Daisy (Ari Graynor), Ally starts to wonder about where her life is headed. Ally reads a magazine article that suggests that 96% of women who have been with 20 or more lovers can’t find a husband. A quick tally of her exes leads Ally to the conclusion that her next partner will be #21. She decides to take a vow of celibacy until she finds a husband.
She decides to track down all of her exes to see if one of them has changed enough to become her husband. She reluctantly enlists the help of her hunky womanising neighbour Colin (Chris Evans, from Captain America, etc), an aspiring musician. Colin seems like a male version of Ally, a shallow serial philanderer who has a series of one-night stands.
But it is obvious from the first, antagonistic meeting between the pair where the film is headed. However, there is a bit of fun on the journey as we meet many of her exes, including the wealthy and handsome Jake Adams (Dave Annable), who seems a desirable match. The film’s third act has Ally having to decide between the two men in her life, although what happens next will be no surprise.
The script from Gabrielle Allan and Jennifer Crittenden (Seinfeld, Scrubs, etc) is based on Karyn Bosnak’s book 20 Times A Lady, but it neatly sidesteps the gender politics, double standards, and weightier issues about the role of single women in contemporary society. While this romantic comedy occasionally tries to break out of the tired formula for the genre, generally it is fairly cliched and predictable stuff.
It invites unfavourable comparisons to the wonderful Bridesmaids, which demonstrated that audiences can embrace a raunchy, adult oriented romantic comedy featuring female characters talking about sex. This is more Sex And The City than Bridesmaids! The dialogue is certainly raunchy and occasionally funny, but the gags are more hit than miss. There are also a number of scenes throughout that misfire embarrassingly.
Faris is also one of the producers of the film, so she was obviously drawn to both the character and the material. In films like The House Bunny, the Scary Movie spoof, etc, Faris has perfected the role of the blonde bimbo, and she fits the role here well. She seems to be channelling vintage Goldie Hawn here, especially with her ability to handle physical comedy with grace, although she lacks her winning charm. Some of her dialogue is quite raunchy, and she delivers it with abandon.
Taking a break from superhero mode Evans also turns on the charm, and he appears shirtless plenty of times to show off his buffed body. Both he and Faris develop a palpable rapport that helps the film over its many creaky spots.
Faris and the producers have assembled a strong supporting cast to contribute cameos as Ally’s various exes, including Thomas Lennon, Red Dwarf’s Martin Freeman, Zachary Quinto, Andy Shamberg, Anthony Mackie and even her real life husband Chris Pratt, from Parks And Recreation, etc. Blythe Danner plays Ally’s disapproving and over bearing mother but is given little to do.
Director Mark Mylod (Ali G Indahouse, etc) has worked on tv series like Entourage, etc, but his sense of pacing and comic timing seems to have largely deserted him here. The film drags a little, and its running time of 108 minutes is overly generous given the rather slim and ridiculous central premise.