How about 1? That’s the number of smart, funny female-centric comedies that have been released this year…and What’s Your Number? is unfortunately not in the running to bring that total up to 2.
Comedy Queen/perpetually underused actress Anna Faris plays Ally Darling, a loopy 30-something who stumbles across an article in Marie Claire magazine proclaiming that women who have had more than 20 sexual partners are doomed to a life of spinsterhood. Ally tallies herself up, realizes she’s at 19, and while at a bachelorette party, gets drunk and sleeps with her creep of an ex-boss (Joel McHale), bringing her up to almost twice the national average. Worried about the future of her love life (or potential lack thereof) Ally comes up with the brilliant idea to track down all of her past flames to see if any sparks reignite.
Meanwhile, her randy hunk of a neighbour Colin (Chris Evans) gets roped into helping Ally track down numbers 1 through 19 – which special emphasis on number 2, an elusive gentleman who’s now rich and successful and in Ally’s mind, the one who got away.
As they search, Ally has flashbacks to her exes (they include Andy Samberg, Anthony Mackie, Chris Pratt and Martin Freeman), remembering why it didn’t work out in the first place, yet still continues on with her quest because hey, why tempt fate?
Meanwhile, Ally is also helping her younger sister, Daisy (Ari Graynor), prep for her wedding, giving Ally a glimpse into a world that may be just out of her grasp if she doesn’t tame her wicked ways (retch). It’s all so depressing that she uses their trip to a bakery as an excuse to stuff her face full of wedding cake samples and bemoans: “Nobody’s ever going to see me naked again.”
Faris does her best with the mostly stale and kind of misogynistic material (although the film does contain a few surprising laugh-out-loud zingers that she carries off with aplomb) but movies like Bridesmaids have shown us that it’s no longer enough to hear the angelic blonde next door swear like a trucker as she recounts the grittier details of her sex life. There needs to be some substance and heart behind all the dirty talk, otherwise you may as well just watch a Michael Bay movie.
It also doesn’t help that the movie suffers from a lack of urgency. Despite Ally’s desperate declarations that “I’m running out of time, money and viable eggs” during her manhunt, it all comes across like a silly, nonsensical, time-wasting pursuit. This is not high stakes drama…especially since there’s not a soul alive who doesn’t see where the story is going.
Director Mark Mylod (Entourage) does fine wrangling the needlessly elaborate plot that constantly traps the actors in scenarios that are painfully over-conceived by screenwriters Gabrielle Allen and Jennifer Crittenden (based on the book by Karyn Bosnak) but can’t quite elevate it beyond its sitcom-like roots.
What’s Your Number? may be able to ride on the coattails of movies like Bridesmaids but ultimately, it fails to add up.
What’s Your Number? opens today in Toronto. Check here for showtimes.
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