Saturday, 8 October 2011


2oth Century Fox Films
Now Showing

Despite being predicated on a flimsy high concept - a woman goes in search of her ex-lovers to find the one that got away just so she doesn't exceed the number of lovers - 20 - which would render her doomed never to marry - What's Your Number? is not the worst film of the year.

Don't get me wrong, Mark Mylod's film is by no means a great one and it's only ever a good film fleetingly but then, it's been a while since Hollywood has produced a truly good romantic comedy. 2009's (500) Days of Summer was arguably the last one and that was because it turned the rom-com conventions on their head, or rather, spliced them into non-chronological order and in the end, the boy didn't get the girl (or, not the one we thought he would).

There's no such doubts in What's Your Number? with recently retrenched Ally Darling (Anna Faris) destined to fall for her hunky cad of a neighbour, Colin (Chris Evans), even as they spend three-quarters of the film as uneasy allies in pursuit of her ex-lovers. As newly unemployed and a musician, the pair have time on their hands; Colin offering his people finding skills gleaned from his police officer dad, and in return Ally provides her apartment as sanctuary for him to hide in from the previous night's one night stands.

Faris and Evans are both likeable enough, he even more so as he spends the majority of the film in various states of undress, but neither can succeed in rising above the material, which like a lot of rom-coms and chick flicks of late, isn't afraid to go blue for its laughs. I don't have a problem with that, but smut and wit need not be strange bedfellows (see Bridesmaids).

One gets the feeling that Ally's reconnection with her exes - played by the likes of comic Andy Samberg, future Hobbit Martin Freeman, and The Hurt Locker's Anthony Mackie - were meant to be funnier and more absurd segments, and I'd suggest some scenes were shortened in the editing process. One set-up, where Ally visits an ex who is now a Florida-based gynaecologist is, thankfully, short on vagina jokes but makes absolutely no mention of her suddenly developing the complexion of an Oompa Loompa.

But many of my fellow reviewers would argue there's a lot more wrong with What's Your Number? than matters of spray tan continuity, and they'd be right. But worst film of the year? I don't think so. I've seen worse and, with three months left in 2011, am also certain I'll see more. What's Your Number? may rank high on the list of 2011's worst, but I'm saving my #1 for something "special".

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