There aren’t many romantic comedies in which the heroine loudly proclaims, “I’m a jobless whore!” But as the amusing if silly What’s Your Number? proves, things have changed. This isn’t your mother’s clean-cut romcom with only a chaste smooch at the end, although it shares many of the properties required of such movies: the planning of a wedding; a protagonist who can’t see the man of her dreams even though he lives right across the hall and is hot enough to cause spontaneous combustion; a super-cute funky apartment the heroine couldn’t possibly afford; the race across town to declare true feelings.
Still, this is the year of the raunchy bridesmaid, and What’s Your Number? is not about to be left behind. The movie shies away from the scatological jokes that Kristen Wiig and Co. happily reveled in, but it’s full of lively and crude sexual banter, discussions of hookups and sex and Joel McHale’s bare butt (unless there’s a stunt man involved, always a possibility). Oddly, all this makes the film funnier and more accessible than you might imagine.
The film stars Anna Faris (Take Me Home Tonight, The House Bunny) as Ally Darling, who has just been fired from her marketing job in Boston (McHale, of Community and The Soup, plays the creepy boss who canned her). Idly reading a magazine, she comes across an article reporting that the average number of sexual partners for women is 10. Ally counts back, comes up with 19, panics and makes a swift decision: She will not sleep with No.20 unless he’s The One. Her vow is broken almost immediately at her sister’s bachelorette party, which sends her Google-stalking her exes to see if she let a good one get away.
Aiding her on this quest is her jaw-droppingly handsome neighbor Colin (Chris Evans of Captain America), who agrees to help in exchange for a place to hide out every morning from the women he has bedded the previous night (in hopes of encouraging them to leave quickly). For the record, Evans is almost naked in several scenes and shirtless in many others, and this fact alone will be more than enough to inspire some of you to see this movie.
I don’t need to tell you what happens between Ally and Colin, do I? By now you’ve seen enough romcoms to know. But the chemistry between Faris and Evans is actually pretty wonderful, and the film even gives Ally a good reason to be wary of him: He’s charming and sweet under all that hotness, but he’s a player, and she’s had enough players. She wants Mr. Right, and a guy who looks and acts like Colin is Mr. Right Now.
The exes include the great Chris Pratt (Parks and Recreation - and Faris’ real-life spouse), Anthony Mackie, Martin Freeman and Andy Samberg, though the trailer footage of Samberg with his puppets is, sadly, conspicuously absent. Even so, What’s Your Number? manages to skate the line between romantic and risque, which is far more than most movies of its ilk can accomplish.
Anna Faris in a scene from 'What's Your Number?'.