Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Review: What's Your Number?

What’s Your Number? is a predictable mix of sarcasm, physical comedy, and awkward nudity that has become the staple of romantic comedies for mature (and immature) audiences.  Yet despite the fact that you know exactly where Anna Faris’ character is going to be when things fade to black and the closing credits start to roll, the movie is an entertaining romp through the personal past of Faris’ Ally Darling.  Faris excels at playing a spunky, quirky, walking disaster of a woman and with her knack for physical comedy she carries this film well.  Chris Evans – as her lothario neighbor Colin Shea – keeps pace with her comedic timing and manages to inject sentimentality into the proceedings when the two are not exchanging verbal barbs.

The premise of the film isn’t groundbreaking, but the concept of running through one’s list of former flames can lend itself to great comedy.  Unfortunately, the rogues gallery that represents Faris’ former flames falls short of the mark.  The filmmaker fails to make proper use of two very funny comedic talents in Andy Samberg and Thomas Lennon, instead opting for tired flimsy gags.  Despite this shortcoming, the movie remains brisk and entertaining as Faris’ charm and self-deprecating ways ensure that the film does not unravel.  The side plot that centers on issues between Faris’ Ally and her mother – played by Blythe Danner – seem contrived and extraneous and the necessity to flesh this out makes the second act come to a screeching halt. 

One thing of note that really works in this film beyond the chemistry between Faris and Evans is Boston as a backdrop to the proceedings.  As the city has become a more attractive place to film (fiscally, that is), filmmakers have become more adept at using the aesthetics and charm to add significant value to films.  Director Mark Myloid and crew do a fantastic job of capturing the city in a meaningful way.

At the end of the day film is really all about Faris and Evans and for most of the proceedings they are up to the task.  However ,if you’re looking cinematic genius then you will want to look elsewhere.  This movie really fits the bill for someone who wants to be entertained for a few hours without having to invest too much thought.  See it in a theater if you want to see some great visuals of Boston, but it is probably best suited for home viewing – preferably with a date.

Standout Performance: It wasn’t so much a product of Chris Pratt’s acting chops but every time he made an appearance onscreen it garnered a few laughs.


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