Full disclosure for a movie no one cares about: I saw the extended version which means there’s 20 minutes(?!) of extra scenes but I have no idea which. The fact that I can’t predict which were cut fuels my theory that this movie made even less sense upon initial release.
Most people have pretty set expectations for romantic comedies. Everyone has their favorites but overall, it’s a genre expected to be mediocre. I get it, how many ways can you tell the boy meets girl story? There’s pressure for studios to come up with a gimmick or something to make a new rom com stand out. Sometimes this leads to filmmakers coming up with outrageous scenarios and contrived concepts just to make a movie a little bit different from the hundreds before it. This all leads to the stupidity of What’s Your Number?. Now let me take you on a journey on why this movie both infuriates and baffles me.
First, the premise. After getting fired from her marketing job, Ally (Anna Faris) reads an article that says if you sleep with over twenty partners, you’re less likely to get married. Because she has just reached said number, her solution is, with the help of constantly unclothed neighbor Colin (Chris Evans), she will track down all her ex lovers to see if she has already missed out on “the one”. That is a crazy person idea which no one really calls her out for. Anna Faris isn’t even playing the dumb ditzy type which has become her signature. Ally seems like a competent human being until the search of a husband becomes more important than finding a new job. Her sister Daisy (Ari Graynor) brings up the fair point that there’s a reason you didn’t end up with any of these guys but that is quickly glossed over. This movie has no time for logic.
Second, a rom com trope often is the two characters that are destined to be together will have something they have in common to signify their true love. Maybe it’s a song or a moment they shared. For Colin and Ally it’s eating, the thing literally everyone does. The film is in no way clear that this is supposed to be a romantic link, instead, I kept commenting on how much food these actors had to eat in each scene. It’s not till towards the end, after Ally and Colin have a cliche fight about nothing and she’s now dating an old ex, while attending a gala she eats an hors d’ourves then offers her date some who turns it down. This devastates her conveying that with Colin she can “be herself” (more cliche) and that means eating food. But what if that guy just wasn’t hungry? Maybe he had a big lunch or an upset stomach. None of this is taken into account!
Lastly, what year was this movie made? For a film set in 2011, it reeks of mid to late 2000’s when social media is still a hot new trend. Ally doesn’t have a facebook account which mainly sets in motion why she would need Colin’s help because you can look any guy you’ve ever met on that site. Also Ally’s father (played by Ed Begley Jr) can’t stop talking about Twitter. He just loves it! Probably because in 2008 it was pretty new, not by 2011. Then you’ve got the sexual mores this movie is adhering to. Is it crazy that a woman has slept with 20 guys? Are we appalled by that? We all watched Sex and the City in the 90’s and those gals slept with a guy a week. I don’t buy that when Ally and her friends are discussing their “number” that they would be so shocked if you slept with over ten people. This isn’t the 1950’s, the sexual revolution has happened. If the movie wasn’t written by two women, I would think it was slut shaming.
With all these complaints I understand its core intention. It was an excuse to have a rotating cast of comedic actors like Chris Pratt, Martin Freeman and Andy Samberg show up for one or two sketch like scenes, do there thing then leave. It’s also a great showcase for Faris to be goofy and Evans to be hot (please take the time to read all the Amazon reviews where women can’t stop raving about his “body/face combo”). It’s trying to make itself stand out amongst the sea of bland rom coms but in taking that chance, it makes a lot of dumb decisions. All I got out of this was afterwards having to figure out my own number and guys, I’m doomed.