Enough with the reviews pitting 'What's Your Number?' and 'Bridesmaids' against each other

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Image Credit: Claire Folger

Critics really, really don’t like the new movie What’s Your Number?, in which a likable weirdo vows to get serious about life and stop sleeping around. My beloved Lisa Schwarzbaum gave it a D-, which strikes me as the cruelest grade of all. I  saw the movie last night and kinda liked it, as did my row consisting largely of women. What’s Your Number? is far from great, despite the marvelous Anna Faris doing her best to serve up stale material in her fresh, offbeat, and occasionally uncomfortable manner. I loved Faris in The House Bunny and Smileyface, two movies far superior to What’s Your Number?, and am taken by her way of lingering over seeming throwaway lines. She’s at once the drowsiest and most perceptive person in the room.There’s a scene in What’s Your Number? in which her hunky neighbor played by Chris Evans—whose muscles seem to be the most impressive evidence of his talent—ogles her boobs framed in a very low-cut red dress. In a response I’d bet the farm wasn’t in the script, she gives her chest a little shake that is both “I know, right?!” and “Grow up, loser.” She’s very good in What’s Your Number?, and I could watch the scene of her losing hold of her British accent in a bar on repeat, even as the movie saddles her with one pair of sexy little boy shorts after another. Couldn’t we just get one scene of the girl in pajama pants?

But a D-! It’s hard to find a review of the R-rated What’s Your Number? that doesn’t compare it to Bridesmaids or take the movie to task for not being as good. On the film review site Screen It!, Teddy Durgin wrote “I liked this movie the first time…when it was called Bridesmaids.” Zing! Except not really. Both movies share a backdrop of a wedding and feature women at loose ends.* Moving on. The trouble with these reviews is that most comedies—starring women, men, robots, dolphins—aren’t as good as Bridesmaids. Although the movie critic Leonard Maltin disagrees:  “As someone who—swimming against the tide—didn’t care for Bridesmaids, imagine my surprise to find another female-driven, female-written R-rated comedy so entertaining.” Imagine his surprise that while he didn’t find women funny in one movie, he did in another. Funny!  Just because What’s Your Number? isn’t as shrewd or winning of a comedy as Bridesmaids shouldn’t effect Hollywood’s perception of whether audiences want to see complicated funny women who talk about their sex lives (and their professional and social and family and fantasy lives).

*All that said, What’s Your Number? and Bridesmaids do indeed begin with the exact same opening scene. You’ve seen it a dozen times before, but I’ll go ahead and describe it for you anyway: Our heroine wakes up, glances nervously at her still-sleeping bedmate, and tiptoes to the bathroom mirror. There she frantically runs a brush through her hair, whips on some makeup, and sneaks back into bed before sleepyhead wakes up. He does. Her eyes flutter open. He marvels over how beautiful she looks first thing in the morning. She flashes him a Who Me? smile. Now obviously both Anna Faris and Kristen Wiig already looked amazing in the opening shots of their movies. Their mascara wasn’t smeared, their skin wasn’t blotchy from last night’s booze, they still have shiny gloss on their lips. I get it—it’s the movies! Nobody actually wants to see the bloom of rosacea on a star’s cheeks.  But if we’re forced to endure this cliche couldn’t someone in the makeup department fight for some runny eyeliner or dry lips?

What do you think moviegoers? Anybody else sheepishly surprised by their enjoyment of What’s Your Number? Does Chris Evans do it for you? Do you think there’s a danger in comparing all comedies written by and starring women to Bridesmaids from here on out? Do scenes of women waking up in full makeup bug?

Comments (81 total) Add your comment
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  • Angela

    As someone who absolutely doesn’t understand the appeal of Anna Faris, I can’t say I care at all about the movie’s bad reviews (not to mention the fact that it doesn’t look the least bit funny). The comparisons to Bridesmaids will get old, though, and hopefully, people will stop using it every time there’s a mildly raunchy comedy that stars – gasp! – women. What has me scratching my head is how all those other guys got stuck in this movie – Chris Evans (as evidenced by Captain America and, in more comedic territory, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World last year, you can do so much better), Aziz Ansari, Chris Pratt (you were just in Moneyball!), Zachary Quinto…Anthony Mackie (?!).

    • lady

      Well, Chris Pratt is her husband so I’m guessing he doesn’t mind being in her movies.

      • Angela

        Oh my god, I totally forgot about that. But I still judge the decision by all of them to do this movie harshly.

    • Janell

      I don’t get the appeal of Anna Faris too. She was funny in her beginning roles, but I’m over her “airhead” roles. Ick!!

  • Delon

    Anna Faris rules! Smiley Face is easily the funniest movie about pot and she was superb in it.

    • yep

      She was so funny in the movie Just Friends.

      • ImStillToni

        I am ashamed to admit I have her character’s song “Forgiveness” in my music library ever since I saw Just Friends…but it’s so hilarious I can help but listen to it and burst out laughing every time!

    • Krystal

      Smileyface is superb! When she was trying to back out of the driveway omg i lose my shiz evertime

  • mm

    Lisa S should stop reviewing romantic-comedies. She is too much of a misogynist too enjoy them

    this movie looks funny but I think comparing it to Bridesmaids is not really fair. Bridesmaids is one of a kind in any genre

    • blah

      Yeah and that kind is totally suck.

    • Will

      I really hate it when professional critics claim that they “guessed” the ending of a romantic comedy, then call it predictable when the two leads end up together…because that’s what romantic comedies are all the about…the twists

      • elena

        THIS.

      • AB

        Saying “this” is soooo yesterday. Hop on a new trend, sweetheart.

    • whatevs

      You don’t have to be a misogynist to know that most romantic comedies are crap. It’s quite the opposite. It’s embarrassing for the entire gender to know that women get stuck in crappy movies like this.

    • Amy

      One, that’s really not what it means to be “misogynist”, and two, it’s not her fault that she tends to get stuck reviewing the rom-coms (the vast majority of which tend to be pretty bad). Owen also reviews almost all of the action, male-oriented movies.

  • pudovkin

    One is funny and poignant, one is boring and sexist. I like Faris but she cant choose roles to save her life.

  • DaniVT

    The scene in the Proposal when Sandra Bullock does the early AM touch up is also super annoying, if I looked like that in the AM I wouldn’t worry about the gloss!

  • Kris

    I agree that comparing this to Bridesmaids is totally wrong, they are two very different films. This should be compared to either ‘Friends with Benefits’ or something similar which are also standard rom-coms. However ‘Whats your number’ really was a bad film in all respects, and clearly made to make a quick buck, though looking at the weekend estimates it’ll probably lose out.

  • MiaS

    Why compare one woman film vs another woman film?
    Judge the film on it’s own merit.
    Are you going to judge Ides of March against Moneyball?

    • AK

      I think that was the author’s point.

  • LOL

    America loves crap.

    • America

      I love LOL. I am American. Americans love crap. LOL is crap. XOXO

      • Tashtego

        I ‘m sorry, I have to admit that I actually do laugh out loud to myself when I’m reading comments and I inevitably come to LOL’s “America loves crap.” I realize others don’t find it funny, but I not gonna lie.

      • caryn c

        I’m with you, Tashtego. I do chuckle to myself when I see the inevitable “America loves crap” and I’ve wanted to post it myself a few times :)

  • Cathy

    Bridesmaids sucked. I did not find it enjoyable at all. I still do not know why people thought it was so great. I have not seen “Whats your number? It does look entertaining. I just hope no one ends up releaving themselves in a wedding dress in the middle of the street or in a bridesmaids dress in the bathroom sink…can you say gross….
    I am done with all the gross potty humor.

    • Alexis

      I totally understand where you are coming from. I am only 28 years young :) and I find comedians like Abbot and Costello to be hilarious. What happened to true comedy. I understand about adapting to the time, but in doing that it says a lot about where America is and where we are headed. Not funny!

    • DTO

      Yea! Women can be gross and stupid in movies, too! I understand it can be lonely sitting on top of a pedestal and burdensome to always be paragons of virtue, femininity, understanding, etc., etc., but I’m still a little flummoxed by all the outpouring for BRIDESMAIDS. It was a fine, entertaining comedy, but certainly not the feminist statement some critics made it out to be? Have women really been jealous of the guys in the Appatow/HANGOVER movies all these years? They don’t really say too much good about the men at their center, either.

    • Con-fess

      Let’s forget about how disgusting that scene was for a moment. What I hate about Bridesmaids is it exactly has no funny parts other than the one you mentioned. One. Single. Scene. In the entire movie. Kristen Wig was a chore to watch and the others had nothing to do. I don’t get all the rave reviews it’s got. Maybe because it stars women?

      • @con-fess

        no, because its funny, and you are in the minority.

      • AB

        Not really. I couldn’t sit through the crapfest that Bridesmaids is, either.

  • ben

    It’s like when Bridesmaids was being compared to The Hangover once it was coming out. It is unfair to compare the two because both films have a female lead and are rated R. Both movies are different because Bridesmaids is not a romantic comedy. And Cathy, I read a Washington Post review of WYN and apparently this movie uses the word “vagina” a lot and has a sex scene to start the movie as well. So good luck with the gross-out humor.

    • Will

      maybe you should see the movie…it doesn’t start out with a sex scene, sorry. And about the word vagina…I don’t remember an excessive use of that word…but then again I wasn’t counting

  • Kim

    I didn’t like “Bridemaids.” That scene in the dress shop actually made me throw up. (I was getting grossed out, coughed/laughed, and then felt everything start coming up. Tried to keep it in, and it ranked right up there with one of my most embarrassing moments… that I am sharing on the internet.).

  • Jennifer

    Isn’t this women’s downfall in a nutshell? we backup and gleam with pride when one tries to venture into the uncharted to benefit us all, and then as soon as someone else attempt to succeede in a similar way we look down on her and call her a slut to our friends.

  • LunchRoomFunny

    The reason everyone is comparing it to bridesmaids is because the commercials spout some quote saying it is “10 times…no 20 times better than bridesmaids”. They set the bar way too high in those commercials..People who loved bridesmaids feel like they have to defend it against this movie. Smae thing happened to the hangover when every other movie that came put for a year said it was “funnier than the hangover” and they weren’t (hot tub time machine…I am looking right at you)

    • blah

      Barney the dinosaur reruns are 20 times better than bridesmaids. And I loathed barney.

    • Con-fess

      @blah’s comment is 20x funnier than Bridesmades ( and Barney).

      • blah

        Thank-you. :) that made my morning.

  • Becca

    I didn’t understand the appeal of Bridesmaids. Maybe I saw it so far after it opened that the bar was too high but still. Except for Melissa McCarthy who was so ridiculous that it was funny, I disliked that movie. The trailer for What;s Your Number looks pretty funny and if I have time, might go see it. Plus all the guys in it are exceptionally talented comic actors.

  • Laura

    I went last night and I laughed a lot. Anthony Mackie delivers a line that is so funny it alone is worth the price of admission. I really don’t know why the critics were so vicious. In the end, I was rooting for Ally to find love, which is all I really want from a rom-com. Look, critics are paid to point out the flaws they see in a film…kind of like the way my mother points out my flawed choices. It’s meant to serve as an opinion, but sometimes it’s just too much negativity. And they were especially snarky about ‘What’s Your Number?’. It’s like they were mad at a pretty girl for making a movie with a few ideas similar to Kristen Wiig’s ‘Bridesmaids’.

    P.S. Yes, it would have been nice to see Anna Faris in some pajama pants, but the film was directed by a guy best known for ‘Entourage’…I’m just happy she was clothed at all.

    • Emma

      Your comment made my life.

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