Movie review: Romantic math too predictable in ‘What’s Your Number?’
It’s true that we harbor a terrible double standard between men and women when it comes to sexual activity. A healthy young single man who has slept with multiple partners is often considered a dog, a stud, a player. A young woman who has done the same is likely to be stigmatized as a harlot, a slut or worse.
In his 1991 autobiography, NBA star Wilt Chamberlain boasted of having slept with some 20,000 women. That made national headlines and added a winking asterisk to Wilt the Stilt’s legendary prowess. In the tepid new romcom “What’s Your Number?” star Anna Faris’ woebegone single gal Ally Darling has racked up 20 sexual partners, and that ignites a moral crisis and sets her off on a desperate, wacky quest to find Mr. Right, settle down and get married.
Freighted with virtually every romantic comedy cliché and convention in the book, “What’s Your Number?” – ably directed by Mark Mylod from a script by Gabrielle Allan and Jennifer Crittenden (all TV sitcom veterans) – seems an attempt to break the blond, bubbly and very appealing Faris out of the B-movie ghetto (“Scary Movie 1-4,” “The House Bunny,” etc.) and into a sexy league with Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Garner and the like.
The irrepressible force of Faris’ personality, plus her penchant for cute self-effacement and charming pratfalls, does lift this movie slightly from its dolefully predictable course. But everything around her feels stale and second-hand.
The story opens as Boston single gal Ally is dumped by her latest boyfriend, fired from her marketing job and reads in a slick women’s magazine a story that reports the average woman has 10.5 lovers in her lifetime. Furthermore, the article states, women who have had 20 or more lovers are unlikely ever to find a husband.
Ally makes a quick head count and discovers to her horror that she’s had 19 lovers. And in a quirky scene depicting the rowdy bachelorette party for her soon-to-be-married younger sister (Ari Graynor), she notches number 20 in a drunken one-night stand with her oily ex-boss (“Community’s” Joel McHale, oddly unfunny).
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