MFR Rating: ★
If you wanted to see every romantic comedy cliché and convention unintelligently condensed into a single film, What’s Your Number? would be right up there. It’s sickly romcommy and excruciatingly lifeless. Everyone involved in this could do with a bit of a kick.
When Ally (Anna Faris) reads a magazine article stating the average woman sleeps with 10.5 men, she panics, realizing she’s already well over this figure and also very close to going beyond the line of ‘nearly impossible to find a husband’ and decides “Oh my God, I have to change my life or no one will ever marry me and I’ll be a whore forever and ever!!!!”. Ally then goes on the hunt for a husband while trying to avoid sleeping with anyone else. She makes a list of her previous 20 and with the help of the rather unpleasant neighbour next door (Chris Evans), she tracks them down. Are they married? Single? Gay? Is true love actually a lot closer than she thinks, in the figure of Mr Unpleasant Neighbour himself? Surely not?
First of all, it’s sexist. Can you imagine a film about a man being worried about the social stigma surrounding how many women he’s been with? He’d be celebrated. Why should a woman be concerned about being ‘unmarriageable’ for the same reasons. Double standards and Hollywood upholding Victorian values.
I laughed once throughout the film, which isn’t too bad. The problem is, the rest misses the mark so widely. One moment that felt particularly misjudged occurs when Ally tracks down an ex who is an aspiring politician, only to find out he’s gay. He then hilariously out-of-the-blue asks her to marry him because “America might be ready for its first black president, but not its first gay, black president!!” Oh my God! That is so funny! Ally is so desperate for a husband but the only man who wants to marry her is a gay guy! As depressingly accurate as the politician’s statement might be, to make a gag out of the situation was crude beyond belief. Cringeworthy.
None of the characters are likeable, they’re all whiny and irreverent. All least in the recent Friends With Benefits the characters were to some extent likeable. There will be absolutely no prizes for guessing who Ally goes for in the end but plenty of wonder just why? Chris Evans’ character is just a bit of an idiot. What any woman would see in such a charisma vacuum is startling. But he does go around naked all the time and has a nice body so maybe that’s all that matters?
It’s a cowardly little film made by cowards. Every story decision is just about as straight down the middle as rom-com can get. Pulped Hollywood trash which makes you wonder – why do you bother?
What’s Your Number? is out on 30th September in the UK and US. Running time: 106 mins. Certificate 15 (UK).
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Review by David Rank