I once interviewed an actor who gave me some perspective that I’d never before considered. He said that all actors have to take a leap of faith for each movie. An actor may be completely confident that he or she can bring a written character to life, but trust must be placed in the filmmakers. If the best actor in the world makes a movie with the worst filmmakers in the world, the film is going to be a disaster. Not that Anna Faris (The House Bunny) and Chris Evans (Captain America) are the best actors, but such is the case with What’s Your Number?. Great performances and a decent script are almost completely ruined by awful filmmaking.
When Ally (Faris) reads a magazine article that explains how women who have had more than 20 sexual partners rarely end up getting married, she makes a list of past lovers to discover her number. When that number ends up being 20, she decides that she can’t sleep with another man because that will push her into the more-than-20 category. So she employs the help of her handsome womanizing neighbor Colin (Evans) to track down her exes in hope that one of them is now a suitable candidate for marriage.
Don’t worry, What’s You Number? does not monotonously shuffle through her exes one by one. That would be exhausting. Instead, we watch Anna form her first genuine non-sexual relationship with Colin – whom she can’t sleep with because he’d throw her into the “Over 20 Club” – while she reignites old flames. But, of course, chemistry arises between the two as Ally continues on her mission. Connundrum!
Faris and Evans are fantastic in What’s Your Number? along with their great supporting cast of cameos, including Joel McHale (Community), Chris Pratt (Moneyball), Zachary Quinto (Star Trek), Martin Freeman (BBC’s The Office), Andy Samberg (Hot Rod) and Thomas Lennon (Reno 911!). If anything, the cameo players could have been given more screen time. But completely undoing everything great that the actors acheive is horrendous editing.
I get the feeling that once What’s Your Number? was filmed, the studio handed the footage to some intern and said, “Piece this together as fast as you can.” It’s absolutely sloppy. Either the editor had no sense of Faris’ comedic timing, or he/she simply didn’t care. A film with bad editing is like a book without punctuation – and in this case, it’s a grammatical mess.
To no fault of the actors or the mildly cliched screenplay, What’s Your Number? is a near-unwatchable movie. It doesn’t take a musician to know when a song is offbeat, so even audiences with no knowledge of editing will recognize that something’s off. If you’re one who can forgive a solid movie for it’s noticably bad filmmaking faults, then you’ll love What’s Your Number?. If not, be prepared to cringe a lot amidst laughing a lot.
Photo credit: 20th Century Fox