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"WHAT'S YOUR NUMBER?"
(2011) (Anna Faris, Chris Evans) (R)

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QUICK TAKE:
Comedy: A promiscuous woman fears she won't find a husband because of the high number of sex partners she's had.
PLOT:
A promiscuous woman named Ally Darling (ANNA FARIS) reads a magazine article that says if a woman has had 20 sex partners in her life, one of them was probably the true love that got away. Ally compiles a list of the men she has been with and is dismayed that she had 19 lovers. She vows to make No. 20 her husband. Unfortunately, she attends her little sister Daisy's (ARI GRAYNOR) engagement party; gets drunk with Daisy and her bridesmaids Eileen, Sheila, Katie, and Jamie (HEATHER BURNS, ELIZA COUPE, KATE SIMSES, and TIKA SUMPTER, respectively); and sleeps with Roger (JOEL McHALE), the man who just fired her from her advertising job.

So, she concocts a new plan. She will re-canvass the 19 men she has had sexual relationships with and discover who among them was "Mr. Right." She recruits Colin (CHRIS EVANS), her hunky neighbor with a gift for finding people on the Internet, to help her track down her past bedmates. Colin is an equally promiscuous person and agrees to help Ally only if she'll let him use her apartment to hide out in when he wants his past evenings' conquests to leave his apartment without further contact.

Among the men Ally re-connects with are: "Disgusting Donald" (CHRIS PRATT), an old college flame who has since lost a lot of weight; Gerry Perry (ANDY SAMBERG), an oddball puppeteer who was her first time back in high school; and Tom Piper (ANTHONY MACKIE), a man with political aspirations who turns out to be gay.

There's also Simon (MARTIN FREEMAN), a British man who Ally pretended to be British with; Rick (ZACHARY QUINTO), her last boyfriend who wanted sex without any level of commitment; and Jake (DAVE ANNABLE), a seemingly Mr. Perfect who Ally has always wondered about. The more time Ally spends with Colin, though, the more they start to feel like a perfect match despite his playboy ways. At the same time, she has to deal with her divorced mother, Ava, and father (BLYTHE DANNER and ED BEGLEY JR. whose character is referred to in the credits as "Mr. Darling") who can't stand each other.

OUR TAKE: 4.5 out of 10
I've grown tired of writing the same review over and over again for Anna Faris comedies. Time and again with flicks like "The House Bunny" and "Mama's Boy" and "Just Friends," my write-up reads something like "Faris is great. She almost saves the movie. She elevates the material. But it's just not a good movie." Such is the case with "What's Your Number?" It's yet another in a very long line of smutty sex comedies to hit theaters this year as studios continue to try and capitalize on the yuk-fests of Judd Apatow and "The Hangover." This is one of the least inspired.

I liked this movie the first time...when it was called "Bridesmaids." You wanna hear some similarities? Anna Faris stars as a quick-witted, yet slightly off-kilter young woman who sleeps with all the wrong men and is dismayed when her sister is getting married and she's not. She gets into a hesitant relationship with a guy who's obviously right for her, but continues to search for Mr. Right. Meanwhile, she has some raunchy misadventures with her sister's bridesmaids.

Sound familiar? Yeah, it's basically "Bridesmaids" but without the well-drawn characters and belly laughs. The film even begins almost exactly like the Kristen Wiig film, with the lead character in bed with a cad who only wants casual sex from her. In both films, the lead wakes up early before the guy, tip-toes into the bathroom, freshens up, brushes her teeth, applies makeup and climbs back into bed to surprise the now-roused guy who awakens and is amazed at how good she looks in the morning.

Of course, there are differences. "What's Your Number?" is much more of a contrivance than "Bridesmaids." Faris stars as Ally, a promiscuous young woman who is dismayed to read a magazine article in which it is calculated that the average woman has had five sex partners before she is married. Ally has already had 19. Furthermore, the article says that women who have had 20 or more sex partners risk never finding true love.

When she gets drunk at her sister's engagement party, she ends up sleeping with No. 20 and vows to find a Mr. Right among the 19 previous bedmates. She recruits her hunky neighbor, Colin (Chris Evans), who is even more promiscuous than she is. The son of a cop, Colin has a gift for finding missing persons on the Internet and via other means. He's a free spirit who wants to make it as a musician. He doesn't care how many people Ally has been with. It's clear right from the first moment the two are together that this himbo and this bimbo were made for each other. It takes the movie 100 more minutes to come to that conclusion.

The film's main failure is this inevitability. Anyone who has seen even two rom-coms will know exactly where this is going, and the film doesn't throw enough comic surprises at the audience to maintain interest or even momentum. I expected Ally's odyssey to reconnect with past boyfriends to lend itself to multiple cameos, especially when the cast list listed everyone from Andy Samberg and Martin Freeman to Zachary Quinto and Chris Pratt (Faris' real-like hubby). But none of them are particularly memorable or funny. Probably the best one was Freeman's divorced Brit, who Ally lied to a long time ago that she was really British. So, Faris has to maintain a comically fake British accent on their date to a pub. But as she pounds make one pint of ale after another, her accent starts to wander and she even slips into a Swedish Chef voice.

Moments like that show you what a comic talent Faris is. But she just never works with a legitimately great comic screenplay or a top-flight director. And, quite honestly, it's a little tiresome at this point. Does she have the talent in her like Wiig to go ahead and write herself a screenplay that showcases her talents? I don't know.

It would be easy to pass moral judgments on a flick like "What's Your Number?" At one point, Evans' Colin copes to having had more than 300 past sex partners. He's that age-old Hollywood cliché of the bad-boy playboy who is finally "tamed by the right woman." I see at least a half-dozen of these characters a year in movies, and Evans brings little new to the stereotype here. But, hey, if you are so inclined and just wanna see this guy without his shirt on, you'll get multiple scenes with Evans and his "Captain America" buff bod. For some, that's the price of a matinee ticket right there. What can I say? Everyone really does have their number. Mine is a rating…4.5 out of 10. (T. Durgin)




Reviewed September 27, 2011 / Posted September 30, 2011


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