“What’s Your Number?” is another lame-brained by-the-numbers romantic comedy. It lacks heart and brains, but is filled to the brim with the rote trappings of the genre.
“What’s Your Number?” is another lame-brained by-the-numbers romantic comedy. It lacks heart and brains, but is filled to the brim with the rote trappings of the genre: an unlikely coupling! A wedding! A Lionel Ritchie song! A life-altering epiphany! A be-true-to-yourself message! An overbearing mother (Blythe Danner)! A pining-for-you-montage!
Making the jump from television to film, Mark Mylod (“Entourage”) directs his first feature from a screenplay by television scribes Gabrielle Allan (“Scrubs”) and Jennifer Crittenden (“Seinfeld,” “The Simpsons”), which is based on the novel “20 Times a Lady” by Karyn Bosnak. And while the filmmakers try to reach “Bridesmaids” heights by marrying raunchy and witty, they ultimately fail to offer a film that holds your interest or makes you care about the characters.
By far, the biggest offense is squandering an undervalued talent like Anna Faris. With her sunny disposition and spot-on comic timing, Faris has made everything she’s been in better than it should have been – “House Bunny” and “Just Friends,” for example. In the hands of any other actress (think rom-com stalwarts Katherine Heigl or Kate Hudson) “What’s Your Number?” would be downright intolerable. Faris, at least, makes all the predictability go down a bit easier. Plus, she and Chris Evans run around in their underwear, a lot. So there’s that. (Body doubles were used for the bare-backside shots.)
Just fired from a marketing job and fresh off a breakup from boyfriend Zachary Quinto (Spock!), Faris’s Ally is the love-starved heroine of the movie who wonders: “How many relationships do I have to have to meet the right guy?” The answer, according to Ally’s Bible – Marie Claire magazine – is 10.5 – the average number of lovers a woman has in her life. Ally makes a list. She’s at 19. The magazine points out women with 20 or more past partners can’t find a husband because they are too sexually available. As panic sets in – and her sister’s wedding approaches (Ari Graynor) – Ally hatches a plan to look up her past guys in the hopes one is her Mr. Right.
Enter the hot guy Colin (Evans) who lives across the hall in apartment 6A. If anyone can help Ally track down this motley crew of men, it’s Captain America himself. In return, Ally has to let Colin take refuge in her apartment to hide out from those too-many-to-count one-night stands.
And so, the quest begins. The film parades out Ally’s (mostly eccentric) exes: Anthony Mackie (“The Hurt Locker”) is a rising – and closeted – politician; Chris Pratt, fresh off a terrific turn in “Moneyball,” is now an engaged and not-so-Disgusting Donald; Andy Samberg (“SNL”) is puppeteer Gerry Perry; Thomas Lennon (“Bad Teacher”) is the gynecologist who doesn’t remember her face, but recognizes, oh, never mind. You get the drift.
Predictably, a funny thing happens to Ally and Colin along the way. They are spending so much time together – drinking beer, eating pizza, watching Mexican wrestling, skinny dipping in Boston Harbor, breaking into the Garden, that they unwittingly begin to fall for each other! But they hold back their true feelings – until they don’t! Betcha didn’t see that coming!
Enter the big conflict that stops their budding union dead in its tracks and sends Ally into the arms of her high school sweetheart – the refined and rich Jake (Dave Annable). On paper Jake is Mr. Right. Colin, the womanizing struggling musician, is Mr. Wrong.
But wait ... Ally has the cliche epiphany while giving her sister’s wedding toast – you know, the one about how the happy couple is so perfect for each other because they can be themselves? Cue up the end-of-movie mad dash to get the one who turns out to be the most decent guy in the film. But by then, you’re well aware that you’ve dialed up a wrong “Number.”
Dana Barbuto may be reached at email@example.com.
WHAT’S YOUR NUMBER? (R for sexual content and language.) Cast includes Anna Faris, Chris Evans, Ari Graynor and Blythe Danner. 1.5 stars out of 4.