A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this romantic comedy is definitely of the crude, hard-R variety. While there are no graphic sex scenes, there are some nearly naked shots of three characters; constant discussion of sex, positions, and history; and a few mostly clothed shots of couples in bed together. Because the conversation about sex is so candid and the accompanying language so risque (the words "f--k," "s--t," "d--k" are said frequently, as are the various euphemisms for genitalia), this isn't the kind of romantic comedy that even high school-aged teens might be ready to see. Despite the raunchy humor, there's one good message in the film: that someone should love you for who you are, no matter how many romances are in your past.
- Parents say
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What's the story?
After breaking up with her boyfriend and losing her job, Ally Darling (Anna Faris) reads a Marie Claire article that changes her life. Ally is convinced that if she sleeps with more than 20 men (she's currently at 19), she'll never find the man of her life, so she decides to track down her 19 former lovers to see if they've changed enough to rekindle a romance. To aid in the man-hunting, Ally strikes a deal with her handsome lothario neighbor, Colin (Chris Evans), the kind of womanizer who prefers to love 'em and leave 'em after a one-night stand. In exchange for Colin's tracking abilities, Ally will let him use her place as an escape the mornings after his conquests. As they look for Ally's exes, the neighbors develop a friendship that could be more ... if Ally weren't so obsessed with her "number."
Is it any good?
Faris has natural comedy timing and talent that's deserving of a movie as critically acclaimed as Bridesmaids, but instead she executive produced this star vehicle that's forgettable and crass. Sure, Bridesmaids is raunchy, but in that Judd Apatow way that means there's a touching story of friendship and love at its core. So while Faris deserves props for willingly putting herself in cringe-worthy situations that other beautiful young actresses would vainly steer clear of, WHAT'S YOUR NUMBER? doesn't showcase her comedic gifts so much as show off the fact that women can speak as candidly (although still not as crudely) about sex as men.
One of the worst parts of the film is that it wastes the presence of so many great actors as Ally's exes. Andy Samberg, Anthony Mackie, Thomas Lennon, Martin Freeman, Dave Annable, and even Faris' own husband Chris Pratt have unfunny cameos that seem sloppily edited or, in the case of Samberg, exist more in the trailer than in the final cut of the movie. Evans is believably attractive as Colin (and what a change from his chaste superhero Captain America), but the character is a complete cliché. It would have been preferable for him to be a serial monogamist who was for some reason less experienced than Ally but still accepted her double-digit past. It's just too predictable -- and easy -- for a player way into the "300s" to think nothing about Ally's "20," and the disparity enforces the idea that a guy can be 10 times as promiscuous as a girl and it somehow equals out. Yes, the "I love you just the way you are" is sweet, but it's wrapped in a sadly distasteful comedy that isn't worthy of its stars.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the double standard involved with this movie's premise. Would this movie even work if the protagonist were a man? Why is a woman's "number" more controversial than a man's? Is this a positive message to send young women?
How does the movie portray Ally's various relationships? How do they compare to her relationship with Colin? Does the fact that she and Colin are friends before they become romantic make a difference? Teens: Do you know couples who started out as friends first? What are some other movies featuring a friends-to-more story?
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