What’s Your Number? was released in 2011, starring comedic actress Anna Faris, who is famous for taking on slapstick female roles, and pre-Captain America actor Chris Evans, who used to take on sexy bad boy roles before being the sexy save-the-world “watch your language” good boy hero. Based on Karyn Bosnak’s book 20 Times A Lady, which I have never read, but apparently is quite funny.
I first watched the movie on Netflix a couple of years ago, anvid then it was taken off the streaming provider, and now it’s back on again.
Overall, it’s a fun movie to fill in a boring weekend afternoon. In fact I have watched it several times – normally I just have it play in the background while I’m working on something else, like cleaning the house or doing some repairs, because it’s not a show that I need to dedicate much brainpower to.
What’s Your Number? is currently streaming on Netflix.
To watch or not to watch? What to expect from this movie (Non-Spoiler Review Section)
The movie centres on Ally Darling (played by Anna Faris) who is determined to keep the number of lovers she has had in her entire life to a maximum of 20. She decides that the right man for her is one of the 20 that she had in the past, and spends her time and money tracking her exes down to see who is still viable and may be potentially suitable for her.
How Chris Evans fits into the picture is with him playing her bad-boy neighbour who beds women and avoids meeting them in the morning by leaving them alone in his apartment. She hires him to help her search for her exes as she is hopeless at it, but he turns out to be really good at finding people online.
There are some genuinely funny scenes when Ally interacts with her exes, as we all know by now that Anna Faris does not shy away from humour, no matter how cringey it can get.
Every chick flick has a moral, and of course this story is about how we should choose to be with someone we can be ourselves with; and this is not considered a spoiler because if you can’t tell who Ally ends up with, you need to go back to reading stories about Peter and Jane.
To watch or not to watch? It is a pleasant show to past a Sunday afternoon with; but even if you choose to skip it, there won’t be anything missing in your life.
Well… you might miss seeing Chris Evans and Anna Faris in a scene where they’re almost naked though.
Stop here if you don’t want to read any spoilers!
My Honest Review ***WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!***
Although there isn’t really much to spoil, considering you can predict how the show is going to end from the very beginning. Plus, it’s a rom-com chick flick! How much can the ending be spoilt?
The show opens with Ally Darling (Anna Faris) being dumped by her boyfriend (Zachary Quinto, of Heroes and Star Trek reboot fame), followed shortly with her losing her job, with the sucky thing being the only one who was fired in spite of her sleazy boss (played by the usual Joel McHale of Community fame, who always seem to take on sleazy boss roles) saying that the company needed to make many cuts.
On her way home clutching the sad box containing her personal belongings, Ally flips through a woman’s magazine and finds an article with the title that was used as the title of the movie: What’s Your Number? The article states that ladies who have had more than 20 lovers would generally not be able to find a husband, as if it was some kind of magical cut-off number which dictates the marriageability of a woman.
Ally of course is taken in by this schtick, and is horrified to see such a “low” number, and began writing down the names of all the men that she has slept with in the past.
We also get introduced to Ally’s sister, Daisy (Ari Graynor) who is preparing for her wedding. During a girls’ night out at a bar, Ally proposes they play a number game where each lady writes down the number of guys they have slept with, put them into a cup, and they have to guess whose number is whose. When one of their friends admitted to the number 13, everyone else jokingly-but-not-really calls her a slut, leading to Ally trying to modify her own number but got caught. Her totally unsupporting and judgey friends were horrified to see that Ally has the highest number of 19, saying things that made her feel even more shitty, which led to her bingeing on drinks, dancing on the bartop, and then having drunken sex with her former boss who had been there at the same bar.
Horrified that her number is now pushed to 20, she considered her ex-boss as “the one” for a feeling moment, but seeing him scratch his balls and then smelling his fingers changed her mind.
Determined not to have her number go above 20, Ally decides to reconsider all her former lovers, figuring that one of them must be the one for her. Her sister and friends remind her that there was a reason she broke up with them, but Ally uses her own sister Daisy as an example – Daisy had reconnected with a guy who had initially broken off with her to get together with a friend (who was in the circle as well – the one with 13) and then got back together with Daisy, and he has changed so much that he was now perfect husband material and is getting married.
Since she was jobless, Ally spent some time trying to track down her exes, and found that she wasn’t good at it, and decides to hire her neighbour Colin (Chris Evans) who claimed to have excellent investigative skills to look for them.
I only mention Colin here, but he was actually introduced at the beginning of the film just as Ally’s loser boyfriend was walking out of her apartment with his bicycle tyre in hand, with Colin trying to escape one of his night escapades who was hanging around his apartment wondering where he was. With that kind of introduction, from the opening minutes of the show, it was already obvious that he was the one that Ally was going to end up with.
Ally narrows the list down for him, and Colin does an amazing job locating her exes for her, and Ally spends a considerable amount of money and time traveling to look for them, including flying to different states to “bump” into them, or just for a gynaecological visit. Many of them turn out to be a bust, e.g. with the gynaecologist not recognising her face, but recognising her vagina; and a politician wannabe who offered marriage on the spot to be his beard (i.e. a fake female companion to cover his being gay). There were scenes of her putting on a fake British accent (which spiraled into Borat) when she attempted to reconnect with her British ex (played by Martin Freeman). There were also funny scenes of her repeatedly accidentally bumping into her ex, Disgusting Donald (who was now quite hot), played by Anna Faris’ then real life husband Chris Pratt.
The chemistry between Ally and Colin is increasingly clear, with them sharing many cute moments, where Colin encourages Ally’s interest in making beautifully ugly clay sculptures, as well as sexy moments such as strip basketball and skinny dipping in the harbour. And even when they were crazy horny for each other, Colin respected Ally’s wishes to not have sex.
Ally then discovers that Colin had actually located her “first love” Jake Adams (Dave Anable) that she had really wanted to meet, but he withheld that information from her, thinking that both of them were already developing a relationship. Ally breaks things off with Colin, citing hurtful words that her friends and her sister said to describe Colin, saying he’s the guy to have fun with but not to bring home to her parents, and not the one to spend the rest of her life with. Colin storms off, understandably hurt.
Ally manages to reconnect with Jake Adams, who is handsome and wealthy, and she brings him to her sister’s wedding. On the same day as her sister’s wedding, she sees Colin leaving, also to go to a wedding, although he provides no additional information.
At the wedding, Jake wants to take things further with Ally, and offers to take her with him as travels for work, saying that her little clay sculpture hobby can be put aside. He also seemed a little horrified to hear that she had 20 lovers in her past, saying “Yuck”.
It was then Ally realised that Jake was not the one for her, and she was only with him because she wanted to make her mother happy, and he seemed to be the one that everyone thinks she should be with; but what she really wanted was to be with the guy who can love her and accept her for who she is.
So she breaks up with him, and leaves the wedding, running all over town to different weddings to look for Colin, even trading in her car for a pizza boy’s bicycle to get through the jam. When she finally finds Colin, it turns out that he was the wedding singer, and as she climbs over the fence to try to break into the venue, she wonders out loud the same thing we are all wondering – why doesn’t she just wait for him at home?
Anyway, all’s well ends well, and it seems that Ally still got her coveted 20 as her maximum, as the movie ends with one of her former lovers leaving a voice message saying that they never had sex, and she excitedly jumps on the bed above Colin screaming at him that he was her #20.
Overall it’s a cheesy movie, with some funny scenes. Anna Faris does not have her usual slapstick fest here, but there are still some genuine laugh-out-loud moments.
There are several parts which made me cringe – not from the acting, but from what the ladies say, which unfortunately is a true representation of what society often says. Things like calling a lady with multiple lovers a slut, and that no man would want to marry a woman who has such a high number, and that the aim of all women is to get married (really?!?!).
It was Chris Evans who had the most logical lines; although he played a bad boy flirt who seemed to just want women for one night only (and then disappears on them the next day), his character raised questions like, “Who cares how many guys you have been with?” and why that shouldn’t even matter.
Anyway, definitely not a thinking movie, but good enough for a lazy Sunday afternoon, and for background multiple replays.
I would say though, that even though there are quite a number of lines by the ladies that seem to keep shaming Ally, it’s actually quite a sex-positive movie, where at the end, Ally embraces her “slutty” number, and ends up with a guy who stops his bad boy one-night-stand ways to be with her, and loves her for who she is and honestly finds that there is nothing wrong with any kind of number to speak of.
Fun Fact! Quite a number of MCU actors make an appearance in this movie, including Martin Freeman (as Ally’s British ex, Simon), Anthony Mackle (as her gay politician-wannabe ex, Tom Piper), Chris Pratt (as Disgusting Donald), and of course, the co-star and Captain America himself Chris Evans.