It must have been a quite a let down when you make a femalecentric comedy, and the opening joke is exactly the same as an insanely successful femalecentric comedy released only a few months earlier. But really, What’s Your Number, jumps off this recycled diving board into a comedy pool with no water.
From the get go, this Anna Faris vehicle didn’t even have rails to get off of. Ally Darling (Faris) starts out in bed with Skylar from Heroes who is a earth-first, bike-riding, vegan, and she is obviously not. And its established early on that this is just causal. As Skylar departs without mining her brain for superpowers, across the hall, we get a glimpse of Captain America Chris Evans covering himself with a towel as he picks up the newspaper. I can’t possibly see where this is heading… But then she goes to work, and is fired. I’m not sure why she’s let go. No real reason giving outside of cutbacks – which is just her. I don’t even know what she is getting fired from. But I’ll sit it out and see where it leads. On the subway ride back, she reads in a Cosmo-type magazine that the average number of lovers a woman has in her life is 9.5. Obviously because of an unhealthy and immature perception of sex, and the need to have magazines guide her life, she becomes distraught and begins to list out all the people she has had sex with to find out if she is abnormal. Next, we find out that her sister is getting married, and upon arriving at the engagement party, Ally quickly becomes drunk, walking around in barefeet carrying around a bottle of champagne. Is she THAT distraught? Is she an alcoholic? Does she do this often? These are questions that apparently weren’t asked of sitcom writers Gabrielle Allen and Jennifer Crittenden, and so the scene feels unjustified and out of place. Much like the “getting fired” scene.
Anyway, Bachelorette Party…. Ally makes up a game of What’s Your Number with the other women, so that she can gauge within her own peer group if she is having too much sex with too many people. She finds out that with a total number of 19 partners, that she has had sex with twice the amount of people as the next highest number. Well – that settles it. She has to stop this nonsense. She has to buckle down. No more sex. Number 20 is the guy she is going to marry. Then she proceeds to get wasted, and fucks the guy who just fired her earlier in the film. And no, this still does not justify the “getting fired” scene. This random sex act could have been any random guy. So the limit is now raised to 21 – and Ally is not happy about it. I guess 20 is the “slut” threshold.
So – formally introduce Colin. The guy across the hall. Chris Evans with dark hair and without a red-white-and-blue shield. He comes into the apartment to hide from his one night stand that he doesn’t want to confront in the morning. Ally labels him as a pig (as she kicks out her one-night-stand-ex-boss), but after finding out that he has a knack for finding out this about people because of his police officer father (a paper thin plot device if there ever was one), she trades the sanctuary of her apartment for his help in locating all her ex-lovers so that she could maybe get back together with one of them so she can recycle him, and doesn’t have to get into treacherous “slut” territory of the over-20 number. This just gets thinner and thinner from here on out. There is no reason for her sisters wedding. There is no reason for her to get fired. Frankly, there is no reason to compare the number of lovers she’s had to a national average – but I guess there wouldn’t be a movie at that point – which isn’t necessarily a downside. We find out that Colin is a broke musician – which doesn’t really add to anything. We find out that she makes little artsy figurine things – equivalent to Annie’s cupcakes in Bridesmaids, but without any emotional connection. (Side note: Annie is the Bridesmaids heroine. Ally is the Number heroine. They probably could have just ADR’d a new name in there. It’s not like her name is emblazoned in lights. Not that FX artists couldn’t have replaced it if it was). The figurine subplot goes nowhere. I don’t know. The whole movie is unmemorable. In fact, I fell asleep at the end of act 2 for a little bit, woke up 20 minutes later and said “Huh, I wonder why she’s breaking up with Evans at the wedding…” Not realizing that this is a different guy. Evans, in this particular role, blends in so much with generic sexy-guy actors, that I didn’t know I was looking at a different dude. That’s pretty sad.
If there is anything redeemable about this film, its Anna Faris. She adorable. She’s always adorable. But she can’t carry the weight of the film on her petite shoulders, especially when the story is so damn bland and regurgitated from any other nameless romcom starring Katherine Heigl or Kristen Bell. And having her speaking in a British accent that turns Cockney halfway through in order to impress an old British boyfriend is just heartbreaking to watch. I think the filmmakers were trying to point out that she changes her persona to match the guy, rather than just being herself (which is ultimately her character arc). But, that characteristic isn’t clear and consistent enough to be useful.
If you liked Bridesmaids, don’t watch this. It’s a dramatically subpar knock-off (even though, based on the proximity of their releases, I don’t think the studios knew JUST how close they were going to be in tone…and even direct gags). If you didn’t like Bridesmaids, don’t watch this. It’s a dramatically subpar movie in general. Only watch this if a) you are infatuated with Anna Faris and wish to see her frequently in underwear or b) you are infatuated with Chris Evans and wish to see him frequently naked with a towel discretely keeping the film at an R rating.