By Bill Wine
KYW Newsradio 1060
Talk about a 'by-the-numbers' romantic comedy.
What's Your Number? is a charmless, laughless, female-centric R-rated comedy about a woman who believes that she has missed her chance at true love and will thus be forever alone unless she, while she's still marriageable, reconnects with one of her exes. But which one?
Anna Faris stars as Ally Darling, an unemployed Bostonian thirty-something who, on the eve of her sister's wedding, reads a magazine article that gives the average number of men that the average woman sleeps with, and dooms any woman with over 20 past lovers to spinsterhood.
Ally determines she has approached or attained that number without finding Mr. Right, who might have been 'Mr. Right There,' so she decides to stay celibate and leave that number right where it is while she makes a U-turn and heads for Ex-Boyfriend Lane, where she can retrace her romantic steps to see if her soul mate might be a member of that particular fraternity.
Chris Evans plays Colin, her handsome new neighbor, who is not at all ashamed of his active romantic and sexual past and offers to help her track down her past lovers if she'll help him escape his present ones.
Her past loves are played by the likes of Andy Samberg, Martin Freeman, Chris Pratt, Anthony Mackie, and Zachary Quinto, her ex-boss by Joel McHale.
She wants a second look at each guy she more or less wrote to see which, if any, of her exes marks the spot.
The director, Mark Mylod (Ali G Indahouse, The Big White, and lots of television comedy, especially Entourage), tries to demonstrate daring by being raunchy, but the film comes off the way middle schoolers do when they've just discovered the liberating joy of spouting obscenities and reciting the names of private body parts over and over again.
The contrived ex-and-the-single-girl screenplay by Gabrielle Allan and Jennifer Crittenden -- based on the Karyn Bosnak novel, 20 Times a Lady -- kicks off with a flimsy premise and then makes things worse by remaining in a narrative orbit that never even approaches credibility. There isn't a shred of verisimilitude.
Wasn't anyone in the cast or on the crew paying attention to just how removed from reality What's Your Number? was?
Faris has displayed a knack for physical comedy on several of the projects on her crowded, quantity-over-quality resume (including all four Scary Movie flicks), but no penchant at all for choosing quality projects. And that's her name in the credits as one of the executive producers on this one, so no one talked her into it.
No, she's not as dreadful as the movie she's in, but let's just say that "We'll always have Faris" should, even for her fans, provide scant consolation.
Most romantic comedies can get away with predictable endings because they deliver just what the audience has been rooting for. But the ending of this Bridesmaids wannabe is somehow oppressively predictable and simultaneously completely unconvincing: that's some one-two knockout punch.
So we'll revisit 1½ stars out of 4 for the rotten, racy romcom, What's Your Number? Any way you look at it, it doesn't add up.
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