What's Your Number?

What's Your Number?


Reviewed by: David Graham

With Bridesmaids still going down a treat with women as well as men, the rom-com has had to grow up a little in terms of adult content and actual laugh quotient. Ali G Indahouse director Mark Mylod tackles a perennially hot topic with this new offering, investigating the importance girls (and guys) attach to how many people they've slept with. He's got considerable talent at his fingertips, with lovable Anna Faris and the currently ubiquitous Chris Evans working their significant charm well. While his film has several well-observed points to make, it mostly handles its issue clumsily, with cheap gags and obvious romantic conventions taking precedence over snappy dialogue and believable relationships.

Ally Darling is newly single, out of work and down on her luck. After reading an article that suggests men's attraction to women can be influenced by the number of sexual partners they've had, Ally realises she's at the tipping point of becoming undesirably 'experienced', and embarks on a quest to rekindle flames with her exes in order to find love without raising that all-important figure any higher.

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Aided by a womanising neighbour who often uses her apartment as a morning-after hiding place from his latest conquests, Ally tracks down a series of past boyfriends, many of them have radically changed - some for better, some for worse. She might have a better chance at love closer to home, but this would be disastrous for the statistic she's become obsessed with.

Opening with a nicely satirical credit sequence of women's mag headlines (hinting towards the hopefully more revealing book this film was based on), Mylod's film does itself no favors early on by ripping off the post-coital spruce-up scenario Kristen Wiig nailed in Bridesmaids. It's impossible not to think of that earlier hit when the script here invites such obvious and unflattering comparison. Unfortunately, Ally is nowhere near as realistically neurotic or filthily amusing as Wiig's character was; being so intensely focused on such a flimsy ideal doesn't make her very attractive or easy to relate to. The script never really deals with the guys' perspectives either - there's an interesting double standard to be toyed with here, but most of the male characters don't really get to offer their viewpoint on Ally's dilemma.

Despite Faris' best efforts - which mostly involve falling over scenery and embarrassing herself in front of more adjusted men - the film just isn't very funny. An impressive array of supporting actors - with Blythe Danner as a ditzy, disparaging mother and everyone from Martin Freeman to Andy Samberg popping up as exes - are squandered on material that's either straining too hard or not even trying. The frequently naked Evans is as likable as ever, but his character is borderline creepy, and the romance between him and Faris flatlines due to their chronic lack of sexual chemistry and the lazy plot contrivances that throw them too easily together.

It's certainly fluffy but not nearly frothy enough. Mylod doles out cliche after cliche - drinks and debauchery in clubs, waking up with Mr Wrong - but never injects enough warmth or humor into proceedings to keep them fresh. Faris has coasted on this sort of nonsense for a while now and really deserves better, while it's too tempting to think of Evans cynically slumming it to attract a female fan-base removed from his comic-book reputation. You could definitely do worse, but with the likes of Friends With Benefits and of course the aforementioned Bridesmaids around, why would you bother?

Reviewed on: 30 Sep 2011
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What's Your Number? packshot
A woman revisits her past 20 boyfriends to see if she's lost Mr Right.
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Director: Mark Mylod

Writer: Gabrielle Allan, Jennifer Crittenden, Karyn Bosnak

Starring: Chris Evans, Anna Faris, Martin Freeman, Chris Pratt, Zachary Quinto, Mike Vogel, Eliza Coupe, Aziz Ansari, Andy Samberg, Anthony Mackie, Joel McHale, Ari Graynor, Dave Annable, Ivana Milicevic, Thomas Lennon

Year: 2011

Runtime: 106 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: USA


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