What’s Your Number? (**)

3

I like Anna Faris as a comedy actress, I really do.  If only she’d star in better projects than mediocre stuff like ‘What’s Your Number?’, I wouldn’t have to slum it in order to watch her.  Granted, I liked elements of ‘The House Bunny’, but this film can’t even reach that level.  This would be raunchy romantic comedy completely wastes its R rating (along with Faris’s comic timing), showing any and all of the funny moments in the trailers.  Female driven raunch is great when done right (see ‘Bridesmaids’), but when done poorly, you get something like ‘The Sweetest Thing’, or, well…this.  I think Faris is on her way to being one of the funniest actresses in Hollywood, but she really needs to pick more wisely.  This is a poorly made film that she has no business being in.  There’s really not a whole lot of laughs to be found here, defeating the entire purpose of being a comedy.  The plot is predictable, but that can be forgiven if it was at least well done.  Suffice to say, it’s not.  Romantic comedies often can skirt by with having a multitude of issues if you care about the main relationship.  Here, you’re just waiting for the flick to end.

Ally Darling (Faris) has had relationships with 19 men in her life.  A magazine article she reads suggests that she’s statistically already been with the gentleman she’s most likely to live happily ever after with, since every new person you sleep with makes you less desirable.  This obviouslyHer reaction to this?  Instead of looking for a new guy that makes her happy and wouldn’t judge her, she backtracks to see which ex of hers is the right one for the future.  She employs her next door neighbor Colin (Chris Evans) to assist in the search, all the while ignoring the obvious fact that they’re right for each other due to the fear of sleeping with a 20th man.  This leads to plenty of sitcom-quality bad dates, which feature usually funny actors being less than funny.  None of it is anything to complain too loudly about, but none of it is very entertaining either.

The one thing you can’t speak badly of here is Anna Faris and her sharp comic timing.  She gives this her all, and the only reason this is watchable is because of her.  She has decent enough chemistry with Chris Evans, but he’s not especially given much to do.  The same goes for the various men she goes out with, including Martin Freeman (their scene is the best in the movie), Andy Samberg, Anthony Mackie, and Chris Pratt.  The cast also includes Ed Begley Jr., Blythe Danner, Ari Graynor, and Joel McHale.  You see this movie for Faris, but the cast itself isn’t bad, though of course nothing to write home about.  She’s the one and only highlight of the proceedings.  When you have a talented comedy cast like this, you should accidentally have a few more humorous moments than this ends up having.

On a technical level, this is a very subpar film.  Director Mark Mylod has made a mess, and he makes no effort to clean it up.  The camera and editing work are well below what you’d expect, and he really has no sense of comedy.  If this didn’t star Anna Faris, this would be rather atrocious.  He’s certainly not helped out by the rather tepid script by Gabrielle Allan and Jennifer Crittenden (based on the novel “20 Times a Lady” by Karyn Bosnak), which doesn’t bother to really ever be that funny.  They don’t avoid cliches, they don’t try to be original.  Frankly, they just plain don’t try.

‘What’s Your Number?’ just doesn’t really do anything to make itself a worthwhile experience.  Anna Faris does her part, but it’s a losing cause.  She can’t save this garbage, and it ends up bringing her down with it.  Do yourself a favor and avoid this.  There are far better options for your comedy fix, take my word for it.

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