Saturday, October 15, 2011

What’s Your Number is a Disappointing Rehash

(Published in City Express, The New Indian Express, dated 15 October 2011)





Cast: Anna Faris, Chris Evans, Ari Graynor, Chris Pratt
Director: Mark Mylod
Rating: 2 stars
The opening montage alone tells you the subject and end of the movie. As the camera pans the open articles on bimbo magazines, you know this flick’s about a chick who tries too hard, is insecure because her sister is more successful in love and life, and the next two hours of your life will be spent watching an aging, ditzy woman goof around till she meets a hot, intelligent, caring guy who adores her clumsiness. On the upside, if you want to watch Bridget Jones’ Diary and Never Been Kissed all over again, you know where to go.
While Anna Faris has won accolades from some critics for her comic appeal and cuteness, one wonders whether the Era of the Child-Woman isn’t over. For more than fifteen years, Hollywood has been trying to teach women to respect themselves and not change for men, by supplying the most undeserving of women with the most desirable of men. But when Ally Darling (Anna Faris) sleeps with the boss who fired her, and doesn’t even think of making a secret tape to blackmail him with the threat of a sexual harassment lawsuit, one loses all sympathy for – and goodwill towards – her.
But the most disturbing part of the script is that its premise is an article by a Harvard scholar in Marie Claire. The author has found the women’s national average for sexual partners is 10.5, and Ally is at 19. That makes her decide No. 20 will be The One. When that doesn’t happen, the only option she has left is to make it work with one of her exes. The logic of her decision is reaffirmed by the fact that her sister is marrying the high school sweetheart who broke up with her over a decade ago.
Ally enlists the help of her Casanova neighbour Colin Shea (Chris Evans) to track down and stalk the men who dumped her – starting with business magnate Jake Adams, the one that got away. He finds her everyone else, and each is a staple from romantic comedies, including the British guy whose entire appeal lies in his accent – of course, Hollywood refuses to believe that there is a single Briton migrant who didn’t go to an exclusive public school to learn Queen’s English.
The script tries hard to make the audience laugh right through Ally’s encounters with her exes. But predictable lines and strained physical humour make it impossible to oblige.
Chris Evans is the only one who even attempts to bring a spark to the film, mostly with his good looks and natural acting abilities. The movie gets its casting right, and its makers have done their best to distract from Faris’ pre-pubescent voice by keeping her in a constant state of undress, and hiring a female supporting cast with shriller voices. But the tired storyline only throws up one original scene – the lead couple falling in love while playing strip basketball. From a drunken speech at an engagement to the stealing-of-the-bride’s-thunder at the wedding, not a single cliché has been left out.
Verdict: If you’ve just had a breakup, watching a klutz find love is a healthier option than a tub of ice cream. If not, fishing’s more entertaining.

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