Writers: Gabrielle Allan and Jennifer Crittenden(screenplay), based on the novel 20 Times a Lady by Karyn Bosnak
Stars: Anna Faris, Chris Evans and Ari Graynor
What do you do when a Marie Claire article tells you that you’re less likely to get married based on a certain number of bed partners? Why, you make sure not to hit that number on penalty of being a frumpy/trampy singleton forever.
What’s Your Number tells the story of a serial dater, Ally Darling (Anna Faris), who has just hit nineteen sexual conquests. After being fired from her job, sleeping with 19 men (just shy of the magic number of 20) and lagging behind her younger sister in the marriage stakes, Ally makes the fatal mistake of getting drunk at her sister’s hen party. Waking up the next morning beside the boss who has just fired her, Ally is thrown into a tailspin.
That is, until she has a brainstorm. If she can find love with one of the 20 men she has slept with, she can get married. Enlisting the help of handsome, promiscuous neighbour Colin (a buff and often naked Chris Evans), Ally sets to work hunting her former conquests down.
It’s been a while since Anna Faris has had a starring role and What’s Your Number? gives her plenty of scope for her comedic skills. The chemistry between Faris and co-star Evans is strong, natural and affectionate. Between the two of them, they elevate a so-so, paint-by-numbers film far above its potential. Riffing off one another, Evans’ wisecracking style complementing Faris’s sometimes rubber-faced slapstick schtick, the two are a great comedy team.
Sadly, though, the natural charisma isn’t enough to rescue a cliché-ridden plot or stale plot devices. The concept of a “magic number” of lovers seems more than a little judgemental to begin with. Though it tries to salvage the tone towards the end of the film, Ally still identifies as “slutty”.
The comedy situations are frequently forced and unbelievable, even for a comedy outing. Faris manages to save some of the worst written comedy pieces from being ho-hum, but it would be far more gratifying to see her in a role that suits, and plays to, her great comic ability.
The story tends to pander to a lot of chick-flick clichés–a woman trying to find her career path in life; an overbearing mother; a clueless but well-meaning father; a seemingly perfect mother; the revelation that Mr. Right is not always who you think he is–all these are here in spades.
However, What’s Your Number, though not a fantastic film by any means, has some exceptionally funny moments, along with some tender ones. As a popcorn flick, it’s not a bad one. Ultimately, though, it fails to do enough with a great cast, and a pair of leads with rare chemistry.
2 and a half stars out of 5