Same Old Formula

By Matt Dekinder
Contributing Writer

The same romantic comedy comes out about five times every year.

Oh sure, there are subtle differences such as setting (maybe it’s New York, maybe it’s Hawaii), the career of the protagonist (maybe she’s a no-nonsense executive, maybe she owns her own bakery) or song choice for the spontaneous dancing around scene (maybe it’s Madonna, maybe it’s The Supremes). But it’s basically the same movie.

A cute, slightly neurotic girl will meet a charming and handsome boy, the two will fall for each other, but outside forces will conspire to keep them apart until the film’s final moments when the two are reunited to spend the rest of their lives together.

I’m not particularly opposed to this movie as there certainly is a place in this world for sugary-sweet sentimentality. It’s just that when the same story is constantly repackaged and redistributed for mass consumption it becomes impossible for any individual film to stand out.
The latest version of this movie is called “What’s Your Number?” and it stars Anna Faris who is moderately famous for starring in the “Scary Movie” series and “The House Bunny.”

Faris plays Ally Darling, a cute but scatterbrained free spirit who becomes concerned about her love life when she reads a magazine that says that any woman who has known more than 20 men in the biblical sense is highly likely to never get married.

After some calculating, Ally realizes that her number is exactly 20 and that instead of looking for love with a scale-tipping number 21 she decides to revisit all of her exes and see if any are worth a second look.

Tracking all 20 men down proves to be problematic so Ally enlists the help of her neighbor Colin (Mr. Captain America Chris Evans), a hunky, emotionally-unavailable Romeo who is constantly hiding out in Ally’s apartment as to ditch his various one-night-stands.

You can see where this is going; Ally embarks on a series of tragic/not-so-comic rendezvous with her ex-lovers, all the while falling for Colin.

The thing about making the same movie over and over again is that extreme lows and highs in quality are pretty much ironed out to the point that all these movies wind up being neither great nor terrible.

I would have to rate “What’s Your Number?” on the lower end of this small romantic-comedy quality-spectrum mostly because its attempts at raunchy comedy aren’t all that raunchy or comedic. Plus there’s just not a lot of chemistry between the leads.

Evans does have legitimate movie-star charm and charisma, but you kind of get the feeling that “What’s Your Number?” might be Faris’ last at-bat in a leading role.

She just doesn’t bring anything special to the role of Ally other than the ability to look great standing around in her underwear. Unfortunately for her, this talent is not in short supply in Hollywood.

What this all boils down to is this: don’t feel too bad about missing out on “What’s Your Number?” as another, slightly-better version is bound to be along in another couple of months. In a lot of ways Hollywood is more dependable than Amtrak.

“What’s Your Number?” is rated R for sexual content and language.

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