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random reviews and other thoughts

“What’s Your Number” Better Than It Should Be

I love it when you see a trailer and think, “Meh, that looks ok,” and then go and the movie is really good. It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes movies are way better than they should be! “What’s Your Number” is one of those.

It has lots lots of strikes against it. One, it’s  romcom which implies predictability and incredibly contrived plots. Two, it stars Anna Faris whose cinematic resume has more misses than hits. Three, it’s director and writers all come from a TV background which doesn’t always translate to the big screen. And four, it’s about a woman reliving her sexual history to find Mr. Right among all her exes so she won’t go over the number 20.

I’m not entirely sure how all those wrongs make a right, but they do. It helps that Faris’ costar is Chris Evans; it helps more that he’s naked a majority of the time. There’s also lots of cameos from Joel McHale, Aziz Ansari, Andy Samberg, Martin Freeman, Thomas Lennon, Dave Annable, Zachary Quinto, and Faris’ real-life husband Chris Pratt as some of her past conquests. Plus Ed Begley Jr. and Blythe Danner as Faris’ divorced parents.

Besides the cast, the story is just way cute. Anna Faris’ character Ally is trying to find true love while her little sister Daisy (Ari Graynor) is getting ready to get married. All the relationships in this movie work. Between the sisters, between the parents, between the ex-boyfriends, they all work and feel real. Nothing feels forced, which is incredibly rare in a romcom.

The jokes also feel fresh which is a nice change of pace from the standard scripts Hollywood throws at us. There’s a long running gag about Twitter and Ally’s refusal to join. And a recurring joke about her stalking Chris Pratt’s Disgusting Donald character. Things that shouldn’t be funny but magically are.

The plot, yes, you know exactly where it’s going but who cares. It’s about the ride, not the destination. Right? And the movie continues the romcom tradition of creating an ideal romantic relationship that every girl wants and no guy can live up to. I can’t watch Chris Evans’ character in this film, and his first date with Ally without thinking, “I want one.”

It also has some fun soundtrack songs including Lionel Richie, Devo, The Cars, and one of my new favorite songs “Wicked Way” by Ben Taylor. Plus a chorus of 5-year-olds singing “Fuckity-Fuck.” Always a sign of a winning film.

Evans and Faris make a great duo here and their comedic timing works well together. They bring out the best in each other, both as their characters and as actors. The story is old, but this retelling is new. And the underlying message of being yourself is always a good thing.

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