What’s Your Number? – 2011
Directed by Mark Mylod
Starring Anna Faris, Chris Evans, Joel McHale, Zachary Quinto, Martin Freeman, Andy Samberg, Anthony Mackie, Blythe Danner, Ed Begley, Jr., Ari Graynor,
Written by Gabrielle Allen, Jennifer Crittenden
Anna Faris has the unique ability to look beautiful and hilarious at the same time. Kind of like a modern Teri Garr. When we contemplate the story behind the title to What’s Your Number? it makes one pause for the fact that this movie could not have been made 30, 20 or even 10 years ago. Mores have changed. Faris pulls it off, managing to seem lovable, raunchy and goofy at once.
The essence of the story is Ally Darling’s (Faris) attempt to find a date for her sister’s wedding. After realizing the number of men she has been with while still not having found “the one,” she sets upon going through her exes so as not to add to that number. The logic, even with the adult content, is straight out of a sitcom. The difference here is Faris, with her ability to transcend the material by making it seem more organic and less “acted.” Everything in the film elicits a reaction from her that is visceral enough to bring the story to life.
Thank goodness for that. Were it not for her performance, the material would be flatter. Not horrible, but definitely a retread. The meet cute and willful ignorance between Darling and Colin Shea (Evans) would qualify as torture in some countries, but here it works. Usually I am ambivalent to Evans, as he tends to plays action films and comedies the same way. With a partner like Faris, he comes across as more sincere and more affected by his interactions with her.
The script, apart from the story, has a lot of unique touches, including a joke involving a downstairs tenant and his dog, that takes a while to develop but is definitely worth the payoff. Part of the success of the film is the economical direction of Mylod, who has an old world touch and a modern smoothness. It makes all the sense in the world that he directed Ali G Indahouse, Entourage and Once Upon A Time. The result is as familiar as a Lothario who knows what to say, and when to say it, winning over even the most suspicious target.
This one will get you. Coming and going.
(*** out of *****)