Published Sep 29, 2011If predictable, formulaic romantic comedies must exist, What's Your Number? is a best case scenario. A montage of magazine articles purporting to have the secrets of relationship etiquette figured out opens the film, presenting the rather obvious conflict between what's socially acceptable to the populace at large and what's best for each individual, which fuels the action of this atypically raw and honest studio product.
Anna Faris stars as Ally Darling, a woman so caught up in nabbing a husband that she sneaks out of bed before her date wakes to do her makeup and hair. Exacerbating her insecurities, Ally reads an article on how many sexual partners a woman can have before she's perceived as less than marriage material. This is right after being fired by her finger-sniffing douche boss (Joel McHale, Community ― if you've ever wanted to see Jeff Winger's ass, it's one of many on display) and during a girls' night out to discuss wedding plans for Ally's sister, Daisy.
As is wont to happen in the name of plot trajectory, Ally gets drunk, reaches her man-cap and decides the only solution is to track down her ex-boyfriends as potential life-mates so that she doesn't have to exceed her bang-partner quota. It's pretty idiotic reasoning, but feels plausible after witnessing the pressure Ally's domineering mother (Blythe Danner) puts on her to marry the "proper" sort of man.
Exactly the sort of man who doesn't fit this constrictive upper-class ideal is Ally's hunky slacker musician neighbour, Colin (Chris Evans, Captain America), whom she enlists to help track down her former flames in exchange for providing him shelter from his latest sexual conquests when it's time to pay attention to the orifice that spews words instead of babies.
A sentient stump could guess where the emotional resolution is headed, but the characters we go there with make the trip worthwhile. Comfortable in their skin and exuding great chemistry, Faris and Evans are charming, playful and hilarious in their frank sexuality. They handily carry the movie, but the supporting cast more than hold their own. In addition to Joel McHale, a likeable stable of television stars show up to play Ally's ex-lovers. Chris Pratt (Parks and Recreation), Martin Freeman (the original version of The Office, but soon to be known everywhere as Bilbo Baggins), Zachary Quinto (Heroes) and Andy Samberg (SNL) all contribute heartily in small roles.
It's structured like a typical relationship comedy, but by slightly lampooning the traditional ideals enforced upon those types of films and playing things raunchy and winking, What's Your Number? rises above the trappings of its often pandering genre. Oh, and major bonus points for the use of Hannah Georgas's "Chit-Chat" for the montage music. (Fox)