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What's Your Number?: A waste of Anna Faris' talent?

Critics have heaped praise on the actress' comedic chops — but her choice in movie roles is another story

Anna Faris (The House Bunny, Scary Movie) is often praised for her go-for-broke comedic gifts. If only, wistful critics write, she could find a worthy movie free of romantic-comedy clichés to rocket her to stardom. An April feature in The New Yorker used Faris' career to explore the dearth of truly funny roles for women in Hollywood, and suggested that her next effort, What's Your Number?, would be that movie. Now it's in theaters and — depressingly — many are saying the film wastes Faris' talents yet again. Does it?

Yep. This is a total waste: Faris "delivers a joyously unashamed performance in a flailing, sputtering rom-com that gives her and the rest of a supremely overqualified cast ample cause for embarrassment," says Nathan Rabin at The Onion's A.V. Club. It's a shame. She's a talented, "perpetually underserved" actress. Surely "there's a smart, funny, observant comedy-drama to be made about the role our romantic pasts play in determining our futures," but this "gimmicky" movie isn't it."What's your number?"

Actually, this rom-com is better than most: What's Your Number? is an "amusing if silly" diversion that offers a refreshing alternative to the genre's usual prudishness, says Connie Ogle at the Miami Herald. Like Bridesmaids, it revels in "lively and crude sexual banter," but eschews that film's scatological humor. Predictable ending notwithstanding, the movie is "funnier and more accessible than you might imagine." Audiences can "count on having a good time.""What's your number?"

Only because Faris saves it: "The film's premise is pretty contrived," and "it's garish and so overlit that in scenes the actors resemble Madame Tussauds waxworks," says Carrie Rickey at The Philadelphia Inquirer. But at times, "Faris' sheer velocity" is enough to overcome the film's many faults. Whether she's hilariously dancing or collapsing in a sloshed stupor, Faris is "brazen in her pursuit of the laugh" and "endearing even at those times when this frantic I've-slept-with-19-guys comedy is barely endurable.""Time to reconsider the 19 guys she bedded"

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