WHAT’S YOUR NUMBER?
*** (out of 5)
September 30, 2011
Anna Faris as ALLY DARLING
Chris Evans as COLIN SHEA
Ari Graynor as DAISY DARLING
Blythe Danner as AVA DARLING
Directed by: Mark Mylod
BY KEVIN CARR
Listen to Kevin’s radio review…
The other day, a friend said to me that he had an unnatural obsession with Anna Faris. I stopped him immediately and told him that there is nothing unnatural with being obsessed with Anna Faris. In fact, were a straight American male not obsessed with Anna Faris, I’d think he had a problem.
I have adored Anna Faris ever since she farted in the tub in “Scary Movie.” Yeah, that kind of thing didn’t bother me. In fact, it endeared her more, knowing as adorable as she was, she was still an approachable human being. That’s right, folks. Chalk up farting women as something that makes them relateable to me.
Along with her stints in the “Scary Movie” franchise, I have enjoyed her in pretty much every movie of hers I’ve seen. That’s not to say that I’ve enjoyed every movie she’s made, but rather that I at least enjoy watching her on screen. Even the worst of her filmography has a certain charm simply because she’s just so cute.
Like “The House Bunny” several years ago, Anna Faris is the spark that makes “What’s Your Number?” work to a tiny degree. It’s not a great movie. Hell, it’s not even that good of a movie. From a filmmaking perspective, it’s kind of a mess. There’s clunky plotting, awkward characters, continuity gaffs and some of the worst camerawork I’ve seen in a professional film in years.
However, when Faris is on screen, I can’t help but stare into her big, blue eyes and smile.
I know, I know… call the stalker police and file that restraining order. But as I understand, talking to other guys, this is not an isolated incident.
“What’s Your Number?” starts off incredibly rote and standard. It tries to break out of the traditional rom-com mode by offering a little edge, competing with films like “Bridesmaids,” “Going the Distance” and “The Ugly Truth.” It even has a similar opening scene like that of “Bridesmaids,” in which she sneaks out of bed to freshen up before crawling back in with her current boyfriend.
The story plays out more traditionally than these aforementioned breaking-the-mold rom-coms, only with more swearing and explicit sex talk. It sets up a character who thinks she’s no longer good marriage material because she’s had too many lovers. So she won’t let herself sleep with anyone new and starts tracking down her ex-boyfriends to see if “the one” actually go away. She enlists the help of her next-door neighbor (Chris Evans), who uses his private investigation skills in exchange for her helping him escape a morning with his one-night stands.
Everything about “What’s Your Number?” is predictable, but in the formula of a light romantic comedy, this is actually okay. No one expects major plot twists and surprises in these movies. They’re made as cinematic pulp, and on the surface, it works for “What’s Your Number?”
But all the flaws of the film come to the surface when Faris or Evans aren’t the focal point. Based on a book, the script isn’t effectively trimmed down for the film medium. It tries to cover too many storylines, like the impending marriage of her sister. Were a little more work done on the script, it wouldn’t have stumbled as often and may have played out better.
But damn it if Anna Faris doesn’t just brighten up the screen whenever she’s on. Her chemistry with Evans is enough to sweeten the cheese of the plot and the cute-meet and the predictable ending. Were this film made with Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey, it would be excruciating. But Faris and Evans make it surprisingly enjoyable.