Why are you Fat? Will anyone ever love you? Are your ovaries shrivelling up inside you?
Anyone who’s flicked through Grazia lately will recognise these questions as the unit-shifting subtext of most women’s mags. Now one such poser has been transformed into the basis of this entertaining if formulaic romcom.
After reading an article that dooms women with 20-plus past lovers to spinsterhood, Ally (Anna Faris) hits on a plan; by reaching back into her ex-files she will find love and avoid upping her “number”.
She enlists the help of neighbour Colin (Chris Evans, still flaunting that Captain America bod) to track down her past beaus. An amateur investigator and man-slag, Colin, needless to say, wears his own promiscuity much more lightly than Ally.
You can forgive the script for sidestepping the meaty gender politics, but it’s a shame there aren’t more scene-stealing cameos among Ally’s parade of former boyfriends.
Martin Freeman’s friendly face pops up as her charming English ex, but doesn’t get to do much, instead flanking Faris while she performs a bad British accent tour de force that provides the film’s largest laugh.
Truth be told, you can tell Number will end up with an average score in the opening scene. Ally sneaks out of bed to fix her make up, so she might appear naturally beautiful when her boyfriend wakes. It’s an amusing enough, “We’ve all been there, girls” observation, except we saw that one already, when Kristen Wiig’s character did the exact same thing in Bridesmaids. It forces a comparison, and Faris, sadly, comes off worse.
It’s not that she isn’t funny, lively and likeable. But when it comes to playing the kind of everywoman that romcom roles require, her clownish, physical humour is just too big for the box.
In the closing moments, a classic Faris pratfall reminds us why we love her, but by then expectations of this film being, you know, “the one”, have long faded.