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such a nasty woman | by maryann johanson

What’s Your Number? (review)

Anna Faris in What's Your Number?

Sex Crime

What’s your “number”? Who the fuck cares what anyone’s “number” is? How the hell is it anybody’s business but your own what your “number” is? In what universe is this even a question?
Oh, right: in our universe, where women are expected to fall into a very narrow range of appearance, behavior, attitude, and every other fucking thing a person can possibly be in order to be considered “proper” women. In this particular case, it’s: Don’t be a virgin past a certain age, of course, but don’t be too “experienced,” either. There’s some sort of magic “number” that is supposedly “okay,” and if you’re over that (or, presumably, too much under that), that’s bad. For some reason. No one here really elaborates on that. But it’s probably cuz that means a gal is “too easy,” and we all know that guys are all about the girls they’ll fuck and the girls they’ll marry, and never the twain shall meet.

See? This is how misogyny hurts men, too. But that’s only the beginning of how noxiously anti-woman, anti-man, anti-sex, anti-everything (except conforming to narrow expectations) this hideous movie is.

Here’s more: If you come at this movie with a healthy, sex-positive attitude (and you can have that whatever you own “number” is) the hell of this flick is that Anna Faris’s (Take Me Home Tonight, Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel) Ally Darling — seriously? Ally Darling? — makes it look like it’s a bad thing to have had lots of consenting, adult sex with whatever number of partners one desires. Because she’s not an adult about it: she’s a miserable bint about it. She has sex with guys she doesn’t know merely because she feels “sorry” for them. She has sex with guys she doesn’t even like. Really: when she’s on her mission to hunt down all her exes and give them another chance, she says, in response to one guy’s name on the list, “Ooo, I liked him.” Which implies she didn’t like at least some of the other ones. Who has sex — consenting sex — with people they don’t even like? For Christ’s sake, what kind of self-hating, emotionally stunted child is Ally supposed to be?

She’s the quirky adorable bubbly cute heroine of the romantic comedy of the week, that’s who! The one all women can relate to! Because we’re all like that, doncha know!

Oh, yes: Because she reads a magazine article about the supposedly “ideal” “number” no woman should go over if she ever expects to get married — because what woman doesn’t want to get married! — she embarks upon a quest to find her exes and give them another chance. Because she’s just one away from that can’t-hit number, which means her next has got, simply just got, to be the man she marries. Because she will otherwise end up a hideous old spinster. Probably with a dozen cats.

Needless to say, Ally reads this hideous article in one of those magazines that makes it its mission to inform women of all the many, many ways they are ugly, old, fat, and doing absolutely everything in their lives wrong.

What’s Your Number? is supposed to be charming and cute and funny. You can tell that because it was written by two TV sitcom writers, Gabrielle Allan and Jennifer Crittenden, based on the novel 20 Times a Lady by Karyn Bosnak. It is, in fact, sad and pathetic. You can tell that because it was written by two TV sitcom writers. Ally really needs someone to take her aside and tell her:

Look, people whose names you cannot even remember whom you had drunken sex with once are not “exes.” You did not have a “relationship.” You had sex. Which you may not even be able to remember. No big deal. But why in god’s name would you suddenly fantasize that one of these guys — with whom, remember, it did not work out — will now be perfect for you? Though you might want to, you know, limit the crazy drunken sex with men you do not even like and even find a bit creepy if you’ve decided to ease back on the bedroom Olympics a bit. Oh, and why not grow a pair of fucking ovaries like big girls have and start thinking for yourself once in a damn while?

Here’s some more the-hell-of-it: She gets precisely this from her neighbor, Chris Evans (Captain America: The First Avenger, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World), but she won’t heed him because he’s a “pig” for doing exactly the same thing she’s done: sleep with lots of people and shrug them off afterward. Only Ally’s even worse: she pretends to be something she isn’t with all the different men she’s been with in order to please them. In order to please men she often doesn’t even like. (For instance, for ex Martin Freeman [Swinging with the Finkels, Wild Target], she fakes an English accent. Things go “wrong” with him again when he discovers what a fakey lying bitch she is. Are we supposed to feel bad on her behalf for this?)

Ally does not get this same bit of wisdom from her gaggle of female friends, who all tell her shit like, There are the guys you fuck and the guys you marry. And she believes this, too. The woman has no personality of her own: she is only a mirror for all the crap she is fed.

Reality check: Anna Farris is 34 years old. She is not a child. She is ostensibly an adult. And Ally’s “big journey” here is toward the discovery that she is an individual person and that being herself is more fun than pretending to be something she isn’t.

W. T. F?

Could we get one — just one — silly romantic comedy in the 21st century in which the female protagonist is already her own adult person, instead of a grab bag of goofy childlike eccentricities-that-aren’t-too-eccentric? You know, like the men usually get to be?

US/Canada release date: Sep 30 2011 | UK release date: Sep 30 2011

Flick Filosopher Real Rating: rated NB: nobody’s business but your own
MPAA: rated R for sexual content and language
BBFC: rated 15 (contains strong language and sex references)

viewed at a public multiplex screening

official site | IMDb | trailer
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine
  • TheGreatSpaces

    I could have some fun with Chris Evans

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