What’s Your Number? review

Ally Darling (Faris) is having a bad day. She has just broken up with her latest boyfriend and has been fired from her job. To top it off she reads an article about how the average woman has 10.5 lovers in her lifetime and that 96% of women who have been with 20 or more lovers can’t find a husband.

So, Ally makes a list and discovers she has had, shock, horror, 19 partners.  Her sister is about to get married and on a drunken night celebrating the upcoming nuptials, Ally wakes up next to number 20.  Now thinking herself as unmarriageable she seeks to find her mate without adding to her number by searching out her ex partners and engineering ways to “bump” into them.  Enter neighbour, Colin (Chris Evans) who makes a deal with her to help her find these men in return for using her apartment as a hideout when trying to get rid of one night stands.

There is nothing new about the concept here of a person with failed relationships looking back over their history (Broken Flowers, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past).  And just to add to the lack of originality they throw in the cliché of desperation in trying to find “the one” with a self imposed deadline. The film is riddled with issues such as no timeframe reference, how Ally can afford to do what she’s doing (her job didn’t appear to be on the executive pay scale) and the clichéd characters such as the overly critical mum, which really stop it from becoming anything more than somewhat watchable.

The strongest element is the chemistry between Evans and Faris, which is slowly built on, rather than it being depicted as, intense sexual attraction from the outset.  The two play this well and you feel the bond between them grow very naturally, which is very often not the case with this type of film.  Evans is very likeable as the womanizing yet kind hearted neighbor but it’s a shame they feel more intent on getting his clothes off whenever possible than developing his character.  One-dimensional is the kindest way to describe him.  We know nothing of his past except his dad was a detective and nothing of his present except his sexual habits and that he plays the guitar.  Unfortunately this is a running theme with the male characters in this film.

With a film that isn’t trying to break new ground (at least I hope it wasn’t), they failed to hit upon the potential pot of comedy gold with the ex-boyfriends.  Where they could have created some superb situations with eccentric exes we get rather bland, normal people that have minor quirks and are more unsuitable due to their personal life or their job rather than who they are.  Although they do get it right with one re-appearing ex which provides the two best laughs in the film (the first needing a little suspension of disbelief that they coincidentally happen to live practically next door to another ex).

The film lacked any real charm to it, Faris and Evans aside, and the humour was all very predictable.  It felt like it was trying to make a statement but sadle reaffirmed that a guy who sleeps with endless women is perfectly natural whereas his female counterpart, well, gets landed with expected terminology.  Sadly Ally’s friend who sees 19 as okay is portrayed as just that.

This is not the vehicle to bring Faris out and away from the kooky parts she has previously had and into the mainstream as a leading actress.  She is generally at her best playing as the foil to a seasoned comic actor (Ryan Reynolds in Just Friends for example). This is certainly more suited to the Sex And The City audience rather than the wider group that Bridesmaids attracted but still lacks any real punch.  It would make a nice Sunday afternoon film with your wife/girlfriend if there were nothing better on.

What’s Your Number? at IMDb

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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