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What's Your Number? - Review * 04 October 2011


Watching 'What's Your Number?' can only be compared to watching a film like 'Apollo 13'. We don't mean to say it is big budget, effects driven and Oscar winning; it's just you know exactly what's going to happen before you've even sat down to watch the movie.  

If you've seen the trailer, then you know what we are talking about, because you've just seen the condensed version of 'What's Your Number?' Everything left out is pretty much just filler. You know where it's going, you know what's going to happen, but in fact the inevitability of it is rather the point. Who wants to watch a romcom where girl meets boy, girl falls in love with boy, boy falls in love with girl, but they go their separate ways? No one of course, so it is no criticism to say 'What's Your Number?' remains ever faithful to the standard formula.

As the trailer promises, Ally Darling (Anna Faris), finding herself newly single and suddenly unemployed, discovers whilst reading a magazine article that the number of men she has slept with is about twice the national average, and that the higher a woman's number is, the less likely she is to get married. In an attempt to not further damage her chances of settling down with a man, she thinks her answer lies in revisiting those already on her ex's list in the hope that one of them may turn out to be 'the one' after all. With the help of her 'eligible' neighbour Colin (Chris Evans), who can't seem to survive an entire scene without losing his shirt, Ally embarks on a quest to track down all of her single ex-boyfriends.

Simon Forester (Martin Freeman) is one of those men. Simon is living in Boston and misses England, so when Ally first meets him while working as a waitress she pretends to be English too in order to impress him.


It does seem a bit of a mystery what Martin is doing in this film and you can't help but compare his casting to commissioning Pablo Picasso to draw a stick man. The script leaves him with little room to flex his thespian muscles, while Faris gets the best gags as her character pretends to be 'British' attempting the most diabolic English accents. As always, Martin's genius is in the subtlety of his performance, and all the while Faris bounces around the screen, Martin really does steal the scenes with his increasingly uncomfortable reactions to her bizarre behavior.

 If you're a fan of Martin's John Watson his cameo in this is a must. The characters are so similar you are almost waiting for Sherlock to gatecrash the date at any moment and whisk him away while John protests to wanting a night off, having other things on his mind! He is even clad in Watson-esc cardigans and a rather fetching knitted tie no less.

Martin clearly is not given nearly enough screen time and if you hop over to our YouTube channel you'll see almost his entire performance in 'What's Your Number?' That said, all the characters are funny and three-dimensional, and the cast prove their merit with great timing and delivery of every line.

The narrative of Ally's predicament is highly reminiscent of Gigi's determination to find a man in 'He's Just NOT That Into You', Abby's ignorance in not recognising her perfect partner residing right under her nose in 'The Ugly Truth', and the embarrassing situations Bridget gets herself into in 'Bridget Jones' Diary'. Unfortunately, although this film is by far certainly not the worst the romcom genre has to offer, it is neither one of the best. It's certainly head and shoulders above Martin's last outing in this genre, 'Swinging With The Finkels' - a film that manages to miss the mark by some distance in everything but casting a strong actor for the lead.

'What's Your Number?' is an enjoyable way to while away the time but will neither make you laugh out loud or give you that warm fuzzy feeling you hope to have once the credits roll.

Perfect for a girls night in, but if you're only interested in seeing Martin, stick to our clip on YouTube for a flavour of our very own John in Boston: