REVIEW: Anna Faris Draws the Short Straw in What's Your Number?
There are hundreds of reasons we should welcome the new trend of movies featuring women who aren't afraid to admit they enjoy sex and who use language that isn't always granny-approved. In theory, the Georgia O'Keefe-like flowering of the genre should speak of a newfound freedom in how we think and talk about women's sexuality. There's just one problem: The movies are crap.
And more often than not, they're filled with women who worry more about what others think of them rather than less. That was true of the allegedly groundbreaking (and extremely popular) Bridesmaids. But the tendency is even more pronounced, and more egregious, in What's Your Number?, in which Anna Faris plays a twentysomething who totes up the number of guys she's slept with (19) and realizes it's nearly twice the alleged average, as reported in Marie Claire magazine. She vows that the next guy she sleeps with will be the one, and she won't have to worry about feeling slutty any longer.
As distasteful as that premise is, you could probably do something with it, and early in What's Your Number?, director Mark Mylod -- who has directed largely for television (Shameless, Entourage) and has made a handful of features like Ali G Indahouse and The Big White -- peppers us with a montage of ridiculous women's mag headlines, stuff about changing yourself to make men like you more, not that there's anything wrong with the way you are, mind you. That suggests at least a glancing awareness of the way young, single women are groomed to think there's something wrong with them if they can't attract Mr. Right. But in the end -- actually, well before the end -- What's Your Number?, instead of refuting such idiocy, plays like a movie ripped from the pages of one of those magazines: What if I've slept with too many guys? What if nobody wants me because I've slept around too much? My sister is getting married, but I'm not! Waaaaaaah!
What's Your Number? does pay feeble lip service to the double standard that it's OK for guys to sleep with anyone they want, while women must somehow maintain the illusion of purity and inexperience. But the vibrations of insecurity radiating from Faris's character, who bears the unscrupulously cute name Ally Darling, are almost too much to bear. It doesn't matter that Faris is in on the joke -- it still steamrolls over her. As the movie opens, Ally is ditching one of the guys who keep drifting into her life without committing -- this time, it's a green-obsessed biker dude played by Zachary Quinto, who rolls out of her bed and out the door with barely a shrug. This isn't what Ally wants, understandably, and it doesn't help that her older sister, Daisy (the wonderful Ari Graynor, who has a knack for being both kittenish and deadpan, though she has little to do here), is obsessed with her upcoming nuptials. The pair's uptight mom, played by Blythe Danner, hovers nearby, expressing consistent disappointment and displeasure with her younger daughter, while beaming at the older.
After a chance encounter with a formerly tubby but now slimmed-down ex, Ally becomes convinced that some of her former beaus may have improved with age. Luckily, her across-the-hall neighbor, a cutie with commitment issues of his own -- his name is Colin, and he's played by an unfettered, ridiculously appealing Chris Evans -- has the know-how to track people down out of nowhere. And so he and Ally begin riffling through her past to secure her future.
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