“What’s Your Number?” (or as it’s known in France, “Sex List”) stars Anna Faris as Ally, a twenty-something woman in Boston who reads in a magazine that after a woman has had 20 lovers, her odds of marriage are basically nil.
After doing the math, she finds out that she’s already hit her limit. Afraid of being alone, she decides to go back through her 20 exes and see which have since evolved into marriage material (and aren’t already taken). She can do this because, at the beginning of the movie, she is fired from a job we are repeatedly told she didn’t really like anyway. Luckily, unlike most twenty-somethings in this country, she has apparently amassed enough independent wealth to allow her to spend every waking hour either planning her sister’s wedding or traveling along the East Coast looking for old boyfriends.
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Collin (Chris Evans) is her neighbor, a handsome fella with a talent for scouring the Internet for people’s private information. Ally enlists him to help her track down her exes. Collin is a swinish unemployed musician whose sole level of appeal is that he’s played by Evans. He agrees to help Ally in exchange for using her apartment to run out on his one-night stands before they wake up. As they spend hour after hour with Collin avoiding other women and Ally buying him food, they can’t help but form an attraction. As soon as that happens, Mr. Perfect From The Past is suddenly back in the picture and wants to whisk Ally around Europe, presumably as Mrs. Perfect. What’s a girl to do?
Ally and Collin don’t rise above their cardboard caricatures until well past the halfway mark, long past the opportunity for us to bond with these characters. Evans and Faris are allowed a few moments of genuine emotional connection – with each other and the audience – but overall they feel roped in by a script revolving around posterior shots. The sucker-punch watchdog in me reared up when they showed a flashback of Ally helping an ex-boyfriend campaign for George W. Bush, but it turned out to be a plot device to throw us off the fact that he was secretly gay.
There’s one instance of genuine hilarity when Ally and Collin find an old boyfriend of hers who is British. To attract him back in the day, she pretended to be British, too, and now has to resume the pretense for the reunion. As you might expect, it doesn’t turn out well. Beyond that, the rest of the “humor” is contrived and boring, as is most of the dialogue. “I’m a jobless whore who slept with 20 guys, and I want to be with a guy who appreciates that about me.” Yes, that line is delivered completely without irony. I suppose one shouldn’t expect much more from an Anna Faris movie.
The only special features on the DVD are the options between the theatrical and extended versions, deleted scenes, and previews for other movies, all of which looked much more interesting than the main feature. “What’s Your Number?” will be released on DVD on Jan. 10.