Anna Faris is built for comedy, what with those Goldie Hawn eyes and pipes that could wring laughs out of beat poetry.
But she’s all wrong for the latest rom-com misfire “What’s Your Number?”
Then again, even rom-com queen Meg Ryan couldn’t add anything to this misbegotten “Number.” It’s another tale of a lonely heart who thinks her romantic solutions can be found in the pages of a women’s magazine.
Didn’t “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” teach us anything?
Ally (Faris) is sick of sleeping with the wrong kind of guy. So when she reads an article in Marie Claire saying women who have had sex with more than 20 fellas are less likely to get hitched she panics.
Her number of conquests stands at 19, so she decides to give up sex until she meets the man she plans on marrying.
One drunken night later she reaches the dreaded number 20 mark. Since she can’t sleep with another man according to the article’s rules she plots to locate her exes to give them one more chance. Men do get better with age, right? That means looking up “creepy puppet guy,” “disgusting Donald” and other former beaus to see if time has been kind to them.
Chris Evans (“Captain America: The First Avenger”) plays Ally’s neighbor Colin, a cad who bursts out of his apartment each morning to avoid pillow talk with his latest one-night stand.
“I bet the longest relationship you’ve ever had is with that sandwich,” Ally tells him while he stuffs his handsome mug.
But Colin is a whiz with the Google, so he offers to help Ally track down her old flames if she’ll let him use her apartment when he needs a post-coital escape.
If you can’t guess what happens next, then congrats on avoiding every other rom-com from the last two decades.
“What’s Your Number?” opens with a scene mocking Ally’s tree-hugging fling, and for a second the film promises some politically incorrect snap. But that soon gives way to stale dialogue, a lack of witty supporting players and an unappealing leading lady.
It’s hard to bemoan Ally’s single status when she’s giving a mean-spirited toast at her sister’s pre-wedding party, flirting with her finger-sniffing ex-boss (Joel McHale) or clinging to a magazine article as if it were the 11th commandment.
Let’s be blunt. She’s a mess.
Audiences don’t mind female characters who stumble their way toward Prince Charming. But do rom-com heroines have to be so desperate?
Faris’s scratchy voice and Barbie doll bod make her ideal for comic vehicles, even mediocre ones like the “Scary Movie” franchise. But here those assets only remove us from her plight. And forget about any sort of morality issues plaguing Ally’s rambunctious sex life. She thinks of men as numbers to be divided until she gets the right answer. She has little interest in showing the math.
Director Mark Mylod keeps the pacing slack, as if he wanted to save room for a sitcom-style laugh track. Even a saucy round of Strip Horse can’t raise the stakes, although it gives us yet another chance to ogle the fit leads.
Veteran scene stealer Thomas Lennon lassos the one certifiable chuckle as a gynecologist with a lousy memory.
Those looking for running gags are stuck with a crude bestiality riff, and the sight gags aren’t much better. It’s painful to watch Faris freak out when her character’s pony tail catches fire while she’s waits for her date at a posh restaurant.
Faris remains a comic delight waiting for the right vehicle to make her a star. But audiences may fall out of love with her in the meantime thanks to “What’s Your Number?”