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'What's Your Number?' review

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'What's Your Number?' review still


Have you ever tapped the name of an ex into Facebook or Google? It may have been a pique of morbid curiosity, a bout of schadenfreude or simply a desperate bid to discover whether they are single in the hope of reigniting a flame that you once had no qualms in royally p*ssing on. Given the times we live in, there's an air of inevitability about such behaviour being rife... although it has a long way to go to match the widespread plethora of stale romcoms being churned out by the Hollywood conveyor belt.

This brings us onto What's Your Number?, an example of the genre capitulating to the mechanics of a formulaic plot structure and possessing as much creative inspiration as making beans on toast for dinner.

Anna Faris, who needs to have a serious word with her agent, plays Ally - an unlucky-in-love woman who decides that her future husband must be one of her 20 past conquests. She enters into a deal with her promiscuous neighbour Colin (Chris Evans), whereby she will let him hide from his one-night stands if he will help her cyberstalk and hunt down her exes.

You don't need a PhD in Romcom Studies to figure out where things are heading, although some kind of shield would come in handy to fend off the seemingly endless procession of tumbleweed. For this film squanders a sturdy, if bogstandard, romcom premise with a script infested with pitiful gags and unconvincing character shifts by key supporting figures that are only present as pithy plot functions to propel Ally into Colin's clutches. Consequently, a huge burden is placed upon the creaking shoulders of leading duo Anna Faris and Chris Evans.

Despite their amiable efforts, the movie isn't anywhere near engaging enough. An exception to this occurs when Martin Freeman enters the fray as Ally's English ex, who has been fooled into thinking she is from the same country. This sequence gives Faris the chance to excel, providing a burst of mirth as Ally's accent finally derails in glorious fashion after a few too many ales. It's far too brief to come anywhere close to salvaging the movie though.

In what amounts to a desperate measure to stop the audience from nodding off, Evans and Faris are frequently depicted in states of undress - with the camera hovering over their bare flesh like a fly around you-know-what. Such attempts to generate sexual titillation highlight the lack of faith in the script to entertain through witty writing or amusing scenarios.

The repeated use of flashbacks to provide a look at Ally's past relationships should have been a mine of comedy and nostalgia. Witness how much fun Friends had when it delved into similar territory. Instead, they are mostly flat and insipid - with the exception of one spot of cherry-popping fornication with a puppeteer. Fortunately, this doesn't involve a Keith Harris and Orville cameo.

Much like that iconic green duck, you'll wish you could fly - far away from the cinema if you happen to be lured into watching What's Your Number?. A waste of talent, it proves that the most important people involved in cinema are those responsible for the scripts. Whether there are flies buzzing around it or not, some turds cannot be polished.



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