Review: “What’s Your Number?”

Oct. 7, 2011, 12:52 a.m.
Review: "What's Your Number?"
Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

Do boyfriends improve with age? Is it possible to have too many sexual partners? What exactly does it mean to go “full Borat”? Such insightful questions are explored in Hollywood’s latest entry in a string of uninspiring romantic comedies, “What’s Your Number?

The film stars Anna Faris as Ally Darling, a scatterbrained and quirky 20-something who, despite her best efforts, cannot keep a boyfriend. In the midst of her messy love life, she has to deal with soon-to-be-married sister Daisy (Ari Graynor), her nosy mother (Blythe Danner) and her ladies’ man of a neighbor, Colin (Chris Evans).

Her life gets more complicated when she’s fired from her job and reads an article in Marie Claire that claims women with over 20 sexual partners are much less likely to get married. Horrified, she realizes she has had 19 partners and decides to track down all her past lovers to see if any of them have gotten better with age, rather than search for new men. Standard romantic comedy antics, from awkward dates to drunken montages and bad bridesmaids’ dresses, ensue.

Ally enlists Colin’s help to track down her past boyfriends. Of course, as the pair work to piece together Ally’s old love life, they grow closer to each other.

It was hard to enjoy the movie given the offensive premise–that after a certain amount of partners women become undesirable and that marriage is inherently more important than a career. Ally, who reads the Marie Claire article and gets fired at about the same time, immediately sets to work on finding love and getting married–rather than, say, fixing her sudden unemployment problem. In addition, everyone around Ally–her sister, her mother and her friends–support her in this quest rather than urging her to find a new job. In fact, her mother seems less offended by the fact that Ally has gotten fired than by the fact that her boyfriend of two months dumps her. Even though it’s 2011, the film’s values seem to come straight from the 1950s.

However, Anna Faris’ presence makes “What’s Your Number?” bearable. With her signature raspy voice and impeccable comic timing, she manages to earn a few laughs from an otherwise cliched and uninspiring script. This is apparent from one of the film’s earliest scenes, when her character stumbles into a wedding toast barefoot, wielding a bottle of champagne. As she struggles drunkenly through the toast, Ally comes off as both helpless and oddly charming–a likeable heroine trapped in a mediocre movie.

Faris and Evans have believable chemistry, even during moments when the film shoves this fact down the audience’s throat–like during a game of strip basketball. The pair shines in their more laid-back scenes in Ally’s apartment as they trade barbs and jokes, making their growing relationship more convincing.

Still, “What’s Your Number?” amounts to little more than a standard yet slightly offensive romantic comedy and another waste of Faris’ enjoyable comedic talent.

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