Bil’s rating (out of 5): B.
USA, 2011. New Regency Productions, Contrafilm. Screenplay by Gabrielle Allan, Jennifer Crittenden, based on the novel by Karyn Bosnak. Cinematography by James M. Muro. Produced by Beau Flynn, Tripp Vinson. Music by Aaron Zigman. Production Design by Jon Billington. Costume Design by Amy Westcott. Film Editing by Julie Monroe.
Anna Faris has to attend her sister’s wedding and is preparing to have a lot to show for herself, but her boyfriend (Zachary Quinto) breaks up with her when she invites him and, on that same morning, her boss (Joel McHale) fires her. She reads a magazine article that tells her that the average American woman has only slept with 11 men and that any woman who has had 20 or more partners is unlikely to ever get married, which puts her into a panic about her already disastrous life: realizing that her number totals nineteen, she resolves to not a bed another man until she’s certain that he’s Mr. Right, but a late, drunken night with her boss ruins that plan which forces her to get even more creative. Making a list of her past conquests, she resolves to reunite with them all and find Mr. Right in the new version of an old guy, enlisting the help of the handsome hunk across the hall (Chris Evans) to track them down in exchange for letting him hide in her apartment whenever his one-night stands get too clingy. Hmmm, I wonder if she’ll need until the end of the movie to realize that she’s been looking elsewhere when what she needs has been right under her nose the entire time? It’s hard to decide if what’s most painful about this movie is where it soullessly follows romantic comedy cliches faithfully or where it awkwardly tries to break from them, taking the tale of a good gal in search of love and giving her dirty flaws like promiscuity (ooh shocker) and a predilection to embarrass herself in public (most of which don’t make sense, she gets drunk enough to give a sloppy speech at her sister’s engagement party but then has it together moments later). Meant as a vehicle to turn Faris into a movie star, the uninspired writing and directing fail an otherwise superbly talented actor who does her best to find a way through the nonsense, giving a great deal of energy to something whose stakes are never convincing (by which I mainly meant the entire plot). Faris at least enjoys a friendly chemistry with Evans, who has a good time being called upon to simply be appealing and naughty, but the shameless excuses to get him naked aren’t less laughable just because he looks good doing it (strip basketball?!?) It’s a film that wants to take on a more mature audience than these films usually aim at but it’s actually really quite conservative and judgmental, compare it to the success of Bridesmaids the same year, which succeeded by actually having the courage of its convictions and not undermining its audience at every step.