When it comes to playing women who are smart even when they act dumb and adorable even when they act skanky, Anna Faris has the market cornered. Fans of The House Bunny (like me) know that her funny, postfeminist, single-girl sexpot avatar — a woman of integrity who can be mistaken at first glance for a slut — is a thing of beauty. Faris does what she traditionally does best in the vulgar sex comedy What’s Your Number? But the movie counts too much on the star to save the day single-handedly with her cleavage, platinum hair, and vagina talk. Lots of vagina talk. And she can’t, not with a production as witless as this one.
Faris plays Ally Darling, self-described as ”a jobless whore who’s slept with 20 guys.” The bedroom count is fact, and Ally is indeed without employment, having been let go from her nonspecific marketing job by a boss (Joel McHale from Community) who then proceeds to hit on her while she’s drunk. But ”whore” is strictly a judgment passed by screenwriters Gabrielle Allan and Jennifer Crittenden (working from a book by Karyn Bosnak), even if it’s couched as a joke. ”Whore” is the kind of descriptor the creators of What’s Your Number? think is hilarious for a woman to apply to herself, one whose only ”scandal” involves a head count of her sex partners. And by the way, who in this day and age is counting?
Ally’s big mistake is reading an article in a women’s magazine that calculates dire husband-hunting odds for any woman who’s had more than 20 lovers. So, with unemployed time on her hands, she works backwards, tracking down old bedmates to see if she should have recognized the husband material in any of them. (Andy Samberg and Faris’ real-life husband Chris Pratt from Parks and Recreation show up among her exes.) For contrast, Ally’s younger sister (Ari Graynor, with nothing whatever to do) plans her very perfect wedding, while Mama Darling (Blythe Danner) frets about her unmarried older daughter who doesn’t style her hair or wardrobe to Mama’s liking.
Of course, the right guy is nearby: He’s Colin (Chris Evans), the new across-the-hall neighbor whom Ally enlists to help her do her Google- and Facebook-assisted research. Colin, by the way, doesn’t call himself a man-whore, although he brings home a new woman every night. Anyhow, Ally and Colin, they’re kindred earthy spirits who enjoy sex and sloppy food. But since they aren’t allowed to recognize their feelings for one another until the end of the movie, What’s Your Number? fills the waiting time with a level of chick-style raunchiness that only enhances Bridesmaids’ reputation as the current paragon of a top-quality, universally appealing, female-driven comedy. Conversation among female friends and family in this part of the femme-com universe relies on talk of pap smears, blow jobs, hand jobs, penises, ”69,” and those aforementioned vaginas, discussed with a stupidity that would bore Kenny and Cartman over on South Park.
For what it’s worth, What’s Your Number? at least shows consistency: Under the direction of Entourage’s Mark Mylod, the movie not only makes cheap sex jokes but looks skanky, too. Lighting, camerawork, and editing are all a slapdash mess, one that further hinders the actors trying their best to get through this failed hookup of a comedy. D-