Chris Evans’ rom-com era unsurprisingly still holds up even while it doesn’t. The films aren’t all perfect, and there’s plenty to criticize depending on when they’re made, but there’s an appeal to them that’s so easy to go back to. And of all the films, there’s something about What’s Your Number? starring Anna Faris that I could personally never get tired of.
Some conversations might be a bit dated, but for the most part, the film does a solid job of showcasing that society views a woman’s sex life differently than a man’s while organically playing with the neighbors trope. As Ally revisits her past romances in hopes of not passing 21 partners, she finds herself falling for the playboy next door, whose attempts to help her rekindle old flames lead to a far more satisfying friendship in a romance.
It’s hard to find a good romantic comedy that isn’t trying to blend too many tropes at the same time to please a more critical audience. The fact remains that the genre isn’t for everybody, and it shouldn’t try to be because the moment it does, that’s where it no longer feels earned. But every bit of the nonsense in What’s Your Number? feels earned. The best part of their relationship falls in the trenches of finding joy in each other’s most authentic selves and the ridiculous moments where they’re free from all sorts of judgement.
Because much of their relationship is gradual, every scene that Ally (Faris) and Colin (Evans) share results in something butterfly-inducing. Like the moments where he’s singing Lionel Richie’s (Commodores) “Three Times a Lady” to sharing Chinese food in his apartment. Or, better yet, the very last scene in the movie where his smile as she’s jumping on the bed makes me want to run in traffic because I physically cannot handle how ridiculously pure his laugh is.
What’s Your Number? holds up for a myriad of reasons, but for me, it’s always been how intrinsically the romantic comedy threads friendships with the romance. There’s a part in Ally’s toast to her sister Daisy where she states that she not only sees more of her sister, but she sees a happier, better version of her, indicating that love should never split parties up but instead reunite them all. In the same way, we not only see a healthy relationship between the sisters but all the women, and simultaneously, before any sort of feelings, Ally’s friendship with Colin inspires both characters to pursue the dreams worth fighting for.
The film doesn’t do anything profoundly endearing—it’s relatable where careers are concerned, but for the most part, its straightforward plot provides entertainment while two insanely attractive actors take the lead. But the reason it’s so good is because it doesn’t try too hard to tell us what’s important. Instead, it shows us what it’s like to be a struggling artist in a world that demands far too much from people, and it does so subtly. And that subtlety is where its strength lies, delivering character arcs that feel rightfully earned amidst trope-filled moments that ground the romance. Deeply memorable and hilariously little beats, a Eureka moment followed by a grand gesture to declare feelings, and overtly chaotic displays of failed attempts make the film an easy repeat watch.
What’s Your Number? continues to work years later because the cast takes the farcical script and runs with it through the streets of Boston, propelling the romance further through palpable chemistry and otherwise mundane everyday life events made delightfully adorable. Anna Faris is a class act as we watch Ally’s past and present relationships intermingle, and Chris Evans dazzles with his unbeatable charm.
We need more romantic comedies that don’t try too hard but succeed in storytelling through subtle emotional beats working hand in hand with the humor that caters to the relatable experiences.