Today: July 18, 2024
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What's Your Number DVD

Perhaps we’ve seen too many rom-coms.

Perhaps we’ve
seen too many rom-coms.

Perhaps we’re jaded.

Or maybe we’re too cynical about love and happy endings to bask in other
people’s, even if they are fictional.

Whatever the reason, despite its refreshingly sexy premise, the overwhelming
aftertaste is one of frustration with this film’s glaring predictability. Sure,
with this genre of film you can’t expect rocket science, but there just wasn’t
enough tease to suggest that the film’s ending would be anything more than a
foregone conclusion.

Having lost her boyfriend and job all in one morning, our loveable heroine,
Ally Darling (Anna Faris) turns to
Marie Claire (of course) as she takes the subway back to her kitschy Boston
apartment. While flicking through the coveted pages, Ally stumbles on an
article which makes for unpleasant reading. According to studies, she discovers,
the average number of lovers women have in their lifetime is 10.5. And for the
icing on the cake, 96% of women in America who’ve been with 20 or more lovers
can’t find a husband.

Unhappily, Ally (not so much Darling now) has 19 notches on her bedpost,
soon neatly rounded up to 20 following an ill-advised wine fuelled episode with
her ex-boss. Determined not to increase her number, or marry her ex-boss, Ally
bravely opens up the ex-files to find out whether the ones who got away really
did get away with good reason.

So far so good, but unsurprisingly Ally’s detective skills aren’t up to
scratch. Fortunately, hunky,
womanising neighbour Colin (Chris Evans)
has his fingers in all the undercover pies, as it were, and is recruited into
what becomes, essentially, a glorified stalking operation. Phew.

Despite the film’s fatal flaws, Faris’ unsung talent does ensure it’s not
a total flop. She succeeds where others have failed in that she is a genuinely
likeable female lead. She is gawky and unassuming, a disappointment to her
overbearing mother (Blythe Danner)
and straight-laced sister (Ari Graynor)
and no stranger to making a fool of herself. She’s the girl that drinks too
much, sleeps with her boss and slates her sister’s fiancé in a toast at the
engagement party. Ally is the quintessential ‘bad luck’ girl – not dissimilar
to Katherine Heigl in 27 Dresses – and we warm to her.

Evans too is a convincing heartthrob, who seems to make a considered effort
to keep his shirt (and often trousers) off as much as humanly possible
throughout the film. Must be warm in Boston. He’s perfect as the classic ‘still
waters run deep’ kind of guy – on the surface, a seemingly narcissistic
lothario who beds a different girl every night with effortless nonchalance, but
secretly harbouring a softer, cutesy side. What a surprise he just hasn’t met the
right girl yet…

There are some laughs along the way of course as Ally explores what could
have been. She does what every girl who’s dated some questionable characters
would love to do – find out how they all turned out. This trip down memory lane
does admittedly keep the film going and offers a good variety of inevitably
comic scenarios. Travelling across America for an ‘intimate’ appointment with
an ex-boyfriend turned gynaecologist did seem somewhat far-fetched though.
Equally, Martin Freeman (The Hobbit, TV’s The Office) was an unusual addition to the cast of unsuited suitors
too, although his appearance does give Faris another chance to shine as a comic
actress.

This film is further proof that the powers-that-be in Hollywood are trying
to become more imaginative and uninhibited in the rom-coms they’re producing.
Much in the No Strings Attached and Friends with Benefits vein, this film
is clearly pitching itself as a racy, sexy and frank antidote to the typical
rom-com. To a certain point it succeeds; it is crass at times and a handful of
scenes do flirt with a half-hearted take on Sex and the City, but really, it does nothing other such films
haven’t done before, and less convincingly.

That said, if you can overlook the inherent predictability, it is mildly
entertaining and essentially does what it says on the tin. The plot’s
weaknesses are rescued by Faris’ charming performance and the genuine sense of
chemistry that builds between her and Evans.

Frankly, it’s not the most intellectually stimulating view but washed down
with a glass of wine, in the company of a gaggle of single girls, it might just
hit the spot…

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