Anna Faris is always a delight, and frequently takes pedestrian films and makes them watchable. Such is the case for What's Your Number?, a romantic comedy that could have completely imploded with a less endearing leading actress. Faris plays Ally Darling, a young marketing agent who gets fired for lack of interest in her job. Ally then reads an article claiming that the average woman has ten sexual partners in her lifetime, and that women who have over twenty partners rarely find love. Ally has had nineteen, and begins tracking down her old partners to see if they are worth another look. What's Your Number? is certainly not a great a comedy and is strangely tepid for an R-rated film, but Faris' signature self-depreciating humor makes it passable entertainment.
Between the article, getting fired and the upcoming wedding of her sister, Daisy (Ari Graynor), Ally begins to think that her life is a complete disaster. Ally begins the partner search alone but soon realizes she lacks the skills to track the men down. She enlists her brawny, womanizing neighbor, Colin Shea (Chris Evans), to help her in exchange for allowing him to hide from his one-night stands in her apartment. As Ally begins re-connecting with her old flames (Zachary Quinto, Chris Pratt, Andy Samberg and Anthony Mackie drop in), she realizes she moved on from each for good reason. One ex is a neurotic puppeteer; another is now 100 pounds lighter; and a third no longer dates women. As you can probably guess, Ally begins to fall for scruffy Colin during the search process.
The comedy, from TV director Mark Mylod, took the rare R-rating but never goes overboard with crude humor or nudity. Faris is known for being the sweetheart amid a slew of gross-out gags, but What's Your Number? is more restrained than her more bawdy projects. Colin tracks down Jake Adams (Dave Annable), a successful and attractive ex who returns Ally's affections, but the pairing is more pleasing to Ally's mother (Blythe Danner) than Ally. Her mom is ridiculously selfish and image-conscious, and threatens to skip Daisy's wedding if she invites her father (Ed Begley Jr.). The father turns out to be a hippie optimist who helps Ally find her true calling.
What's Your Number? is entertaining mostly because Faris is so likeable. Evans almost matches her in that regard, and it is hard not to want them to get together. Unfortunately, a lot of other things do not work. The movie often flashes back to scenes between Ally and her former lovers. None of these are particularly funny, and the gags are poorly written. The men are often grotesque parodies, and it is hard to believe that Ally would have hooked up with most of them. What's Your Number? seems intent on making all the characters outside Ally and Colin unlikable. Had the script been better, Faris' good efforts may have led to more laughs. As it stands, What's Your Number? is a middle-of-the-road romantic comedy buoyed by its two stars.
PICTURE AND SOUND:
Per their policy, Fox's screening disc does not include the final transfer or soundtrack, so I cannot comment on these areas of the disc. If a retail copy becomes available to me, I will update my review accordingly.
The only extras are four inconsequential deleted scenes (6:44), the film's theatrical trailer (2:26) and some bonus previews. The DVD includes the "EX-tended Edition" (1:57:08) and the theatrical cut (1:46:08).
In what has become an unfortunate trend, Anna Faris again is much better than the movie in which she stars, What's Your Number?. After reading an article about the average number of sexual partners women have, Faris' Ally Darling realizes she has almost reached the article's concocted limit of twenty. Chris Evans plays Ally's neighbor and helps her track down her old flames to see if she missed something the first time. What's Your Number? is weakly written and never hits the expected R-rated heights, but Faris and Evans raise the film to rental material. Rent It.
William lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, and looks forward to a Friday-afternoon matinee.