What’s Your Number Review
By Bret Dorman
Rom Coms aren’t too kind to women. Even though its main character is at the minimum very pretty and usually gorgeous, if she isn’t super model hot she is garbage. They also imply women make bad decisions based on what their friends say. For some reason women can’t make decisions on their own, but in a group they function better, like all of their brains team up and they collectively become super duper smart for that scene.
Rom Coms aren’t too kind to men either. The good looking ones are always womanizing douchebags and the nice ones are always goofy nerds with weird traits. Even if a guy is perfect there is one of two problems. He is either gay (the ULTIMATE quirk) or not what the woman wants but what her parent(s) want. In the end, the guy not only has to be good looking, charming, funny, and ‘the one’, but he also has to put up with the woman as she makes terrible decision after terrible decision.
It’s a wonder anyone ever falls in love with these idiots in these movies. And really there are two types of Rom Coms. One, the Rom Com with stupid people I don’t like doing stupid things and being stupid. Two, the Rom Com with cool people I do like doing stupid things and being under-utilized. What’s Your Number? is like ever other Rom Com and falls into that second category.
The Story: Ally (Anna Farris) is desperately looking for her perfect man before she sleeps with her 20th man, because that number means you’ll never find true love. She finds her neighbor Colin (Chris Evans) and needs his help tracking down her former lovers because one of them has to be the one. I wonder who she ends up picking…?! Also, Andy Samberg plays with puppets (for 30 seconds).
The problem with What’s Your Number? isn’t that it’s just like every other Rom Com, its Rom Coms in general. Somehow we are supposed to feel happy and elated after the two characters who we know are going to get together and should be together spend 90 minutes not being together. Then they spend 6 minutes REALLY hating each other then they spend 2 minutes apologizing and roughly 30 seconds kissing and being happy.
What we have here are two people I like, Anna Farris and Chris Evans, doing a fine job at creating a natural rhythm and geeky chemistry, then spending a big chunk getting sucked into the “he said she said bullshit”. I don’t mind the ridiculous premise or silly logical flaws and comedy gags because I don’t mind having fun.
And yet this movie never really seems to want to have too much fun. It provides for fun moments but struggles to let them breathe. Farris does her best and for most of the movie I was on board with her half baked plan and ways she would screw things up.
And then in the midst of it all they try desperately hard to plug in some family drama and an over bearing mother. The whole “this isn’t what I want… its what you want” speech near the end as Ally realizes the perfect man isn’t who she wants (and for no reason I might add) is horrendous. If they had built it up at all during the movie it would make sense, but they don’t. They just do it.
If this were a spoof it might have been acceptable, but its not a spoof. Its just lazy. Moments like these make me sad that this is what people find acceptable in movies. Or that some studio exec could be watching a test audience completely blind to the movie and only looking at the dumb reactions of the audience. “Well I didn’t get the off beat humor but I did recognize the speeches near the end. Also I liked when she fell down a lot!”
I really can’t blame What’s Your Number? for being bland. It is what it is. At least they gave Anna Farris a shot at holding another movie on her shoulders (although why they thought this movie could/should be ‘R’ is beyond me), even if it was just an average Rom Com. And they let Chris Evans do his thing. I can’t stress enough how awesome Evans is. There are moments in this movie when he is like a lightning rod for energy and charm. This movie may not be good, but it is watchable. It’s these main two that are the main reason why this movie has as much life in it as it does. These two are pros. Pros at taking the ridiculous (Scary Movie/Fantastic Four) and turning them into bankable, watchable crap. Luckily Evans has been able to sort-of break free and hopefully one day Farris will as well.
There’s one moment near the beginning as Ally is walking through the city and the camera follows her in a whirls then keeps going as she exits frame and whirls on through the city looking up towards the sky through the skyscrapers of NYC. This shot amazed me and I was hoping for the rest of the movie to impress me as well. The problem is much like the camera in the shot, the movie stayed grounded. And the bigger problem was it didn’t even aim for the sky, it aimed for the ground and was happy to be there.
In Conclusion, my problem with Rom Coms like What’s Your Number? as that they get talented people and make them do the stupid things we hate from all the other stupid Rom Coms. What might work in one movie doesn’t mean it will work in all movies. What might be funny for one actor doesn’t mean it will be funny coming from any other actor.
What’s Your Number? however is average. It does what all the rest do, I just wish it could have been one of the exceptions.
Final Grade: C-