What’s Your Number? (2011)


Are You Going to Rape and Kill Me Later?

The only inspiration I had for watching today’s movie was my love of the main actress in it.  I know I’ve said that I was in love with probably 20 actresses by now, but I like to keep my options open.  And that’s kind of what today’s movie is about.  I knew the basic premise of today’s movie and knew that it was a comedy, but was mainly drawn to the movie by the star.  I’m sure there was a point when it was available on RedBox, but I found the movie on Netflix and got the disc sent to me.  So let’s check in with What’s Your Number?, written by Gabrielle Allan and Jennifer Crittenden, directed by Mark Mylod, and starring Anna Faris, Chris Evans, Ari Graynor, Blythe Danner, Ed Begley Jr., Heather Burns, Eliza Coupe, Kate Simses, Tika Sumpter, Dave Annable, Joel McHale, Chris Pratt, Zachary Quinto, Martin Freeman, Andy Samberg, Thomas Lennon, Anthony Mackie, Mike Vogel, and Aziz Ansari.

Ally Darling (Anna Faris) makes the mistake of reading an article that says that the average number of sexual relationships a woman has is 10.5.  Ally has had 19.  Finding that her number is so much higher than all of the people she knows, and the article saying that women that are too sexually available never find a husband, Ally resolves to not have sex again until she’s found her husband.  It goes great for her … for all of a few hours, when she gets really drunk at her sisters bachelorette party and sleeps with her ex-boss Roger (Joel McHale).  Having reached 20, and having no desire to stay with the ball scratcher/finger sniffer Roger, Ally decides that her only solution is to find all of the other 19 guys she’s slept with to determine if they are better prospects since the last time they were in her.  She enlists the help of her neighbor, Colin (Chris Evans), and gets started on some poor decision making.

I was vaguely fond of this movie, but probably not for many reasons you’ll find in this paragraph.  The story didn’t really connect with me.  It seemed like some chick read an article in Marie Claire, got pissed because it made her look like a whore, and then decided to make a movie that vindicated her.  I don’t know if 10 is the actual number or not, but if someone is worried about how guys will feel about their number then they should probably be more discerning with their vagina.  I can’t speak for all guys, but I’d say that I personally wouldn’t care that much about what a girl’s number was as long as she didn’t have a kid or any other venereal diseases.  Most of Ally’s reactions to her predicament annoyed me with how little they made sense.  Her first reaction is to get sloppy drunk at a bar.  Yeah, ‘cause no one’s ever slept with someone under those circumstances.  Well, Ally was able to be the first person to do it, ruining her number and leaving her in the situation where she made her next poor decision to try to find old boyfriends.  As they pointed out in the movie, you probably left those guys for a reason.  Also, if you tell a guy that you had sex with 20 guys, his reaction will probably not be much different than telling him you had 21.  So, instead of locking your vag and looking through your old black book, do what you should have been doing already and hold out on the sex until you like a guy.  But that probably wouldn’t have made much of a movie premise, so we let it slide so long as they make a funny movie.  They never really manage to pull that off either.  I would say that this movie finishes as “cute”, but the actual laughs in the movie are few and far between.  They try often enough, but I’d say the movie only managed about three laughs out of me.  I appreciated that Ally realized, as she was climbing a wall to get to someone, that she probably should’ve just waited for him at his apartment.  It was what I was thinking at that point and it got a laugh out of me that they pointed out that it didn’t make that much sense.  The movie also follows a pretty basic romantic comedy pattern, but it does it so slowly that the lack of some real funniness leaves you wishing they would just get to the conclusion that you know they’re heading towards already.  Another thing that I’m pretty sure I’ve noticed in other romantic comedies is that they always pick the strangest little hobbies for the main character to enjoy and somehow find employment from.  I remember in Bridesmaids that Kristen Wiig’s character loved to make cupcakes.  In this movie, Ally strangely loves to make creepy little dioramas that Mr. Right tells her she should do for a living.  Why can’t they ever do something normal and more typical with their time, like writing reviews in all of their free time?

I think the performances are what charmed me the most in this movie.  I’ve been a big fan of Anna Faris since the first time I saw her.  Not only do I find her gorgeous, but she’s typically very funny in all of the movies she’s in.  She’s never really been given the opportunity to participate in a really good comedy, and I have no idea why.  I think she’s got great comedic timing and tends to bring it to all of her movies.  In this movie, she did what she could with material that was spotty at best.  The real thing she brought for me was intense hotness and being almost naked numerous times in the movie.  And what’s more is that I feel the exact same bunch of stuff can be said for Chris Evans.  He’s really good looking, he was nearly naked a lot in this movie, and he’s a pretty good comedic actor.  He’s had much better luck in his career than Anna Faris has, but mostly with action flicks.  Though he was the comic relief in Losers and the Fantastic Four movies, the only actual comedy I’ve seen him in before this was Not Another Teen Movie, but he was pretty funny in that.  I liked Ari Graynor as well, though the only thing that sticks with me that she did was that I liked her vows at her wedding.  I also found the crew that they got as representatives of the 20 guys Ally had sex with were interesting.  The majority of them were pretty big actors that just popped in for a scene.  People like Joel McHale, Zachary Quinto, Martin Freeman, Andy Samberg, Thomas Lennon, Anthony Mackie, the voice of Aziz Ansari, and Anna Faris’ real life husband Chris Pratt.

What’s Your Number? manages to make up for what it’s missing in quality writing and comedy with its two main actors.  It’s got a couple of solid laughs in the movie, but they’re too far spread out and left me just wanting them to cut to the chase and reach the conclusion that you can see coming from about 20 minutes in.  If you’re in the market for a romantic comedy, you could do much worse than this one and it’s at least worth a watch.  If you’ve no interest in a romantic comedy, then you have no real reason to pay this movie any mind.  What’s Your Number? gets “I know that I’m not perfect, but I wanna be with somebody who appreciates me” out of “How’s your blow job?”

Let’s get these reviews more attention, people.  Post reviews on your webpages, tell your friends, do some of them crazy Pinterest nonsense.  Whatever you can do to help my reviews get more attention would be greatly appreciated.  You can also add me on FaceBook (Robert T. Bicket) and Twitter (iSizzle).  Don’t forget to leave me some comments.  Your opinions and constructive criticisms are always appreciated.

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Friends with Benefits (2011)


Let’s Play Tennis

Today ended up being a pretty rough day for me when it comes to reviews. Not because I didn’t have time to review anything but had to force one in, but because I watched 3 movies and want to do all 3 reviews back to back. These three movies are all comedies, but much different types of comedies that you will be presented with over the next 3 days. First on my list is the 3rd part to the epic and unrelated friends who fuck each other but won’t get into a relationship series. I saw No Strings Attached before I started doing reviews, so I assume I will need to back track to it eventually to write the review for it. Love and Other Drugs I saw and reviewed already. That leaves only one: Friends with Benefits, written by Harley Peyton, Keith Merryman, and David A. Newman, directed by Will Gluck, and starring Justin Timberlake, Mila Kunis, Richard Jenkins, Patricia Clarkson, Jenna Elfman, and Woody Harrelson, with notable cameos by Emma Stone, Andy Samberg, Shaun White, and Masi Oka.

Dylan (Justin Timberlake) and Jamie (Mila Kunis) get dumped by their respective significant others, Emma Stone and Andy Samberg, at the very beginning of the movie, and that makes them gunshy about any future relationships. Dylan, an art director for a small internet company, goes to New York City to take a meeting with GQ about a job offer and Jamie is sent to try to convince him it’s a good idea. The two hit it off and Jamie really sells him on NYC, so he takes the job. They become pretty good friends pretty quickly. One day, while mocking a romantic comedy, Dylan proposes the idea that the two of them should bump uglies – or in their case, bump ridiculously hot and handsomes – and just be friends. This goes really awesome for them for a long time. Jamie starts dating a guy named Parker, who ditches out on her after they have sex. Dylan proposes that she accompany him back to LA to visit his family, sister Annie (Jenna Elfman) and father (Richard Jenkins). On this trip, their feelings start to interfere with their awesome fuck-buddyship. It’s a rom-com, so you can expect a good bit of happily ever after.

Having seen all three sex buddy rom-coms, I can say this one is by far the best. Love and Other Drugs was too much drama and way not enough funny, and, though Gyllenhaal and Hathaway are a pretty pair, you can give us TOO much nudity. No Strings Attached was funnier than Love and Other Drugs by a lot, and the drama wasn’t as heavy, and Portman is a great actress, but she was dragged down a lot by the not very likeable Kutch. Friends with Benefits manages to hit a nice sweet spot in all categories. Timberlake and Kunis are both good looking enough to appeal to any human with normal sexuality, and we don’t see everything so we don’t get bored with looking at them naked. There is a good deal of comedy to the movie and a fair amount of drama, but nowhere near enough to call this melodrama like Love and Other Drugs. It was light drama, so we don’t get depressed in the middle of our comedy. The pair in this movie have a lot of good dialogue written for them. The first act of the movie is filled with great back and forth between the two stars, and most of it is pretty funny. Their banter suffers a little once the fucking begins, but that might be in part that I was desperately searching for a little more nudity from Kunis. And the search is what I want. Once you give it to me, I’m satisfied. When you beat me over the head with it, I’m bored. Their banter gets back to form getting towards the end of the movie. I especially liked when Kunis was making fun of Timberlake for the fact that he used to like Kris Kross, and Timberlake busts a rap from “Jump”. One problem I had with the movie was that they sat around mocking a rom-com for using manipulative music and all the typical things from rom-coms, but they use most of these staples in their own movie. I’m sure it was done to be a little tongue-in-cheek, but it more served to just point out those things and make us notice them in their own movie. One such cliche is them sitting on the Hollywood sign, although that did end in some good funny. One thing they did that I don’t recall ever seeing is that they had Annie’s son (the aspiring magician) have his arm catch on fire, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a kid catch fire in a movie. Also, if a movie wants to stand out so much, they should make the girl go after the guy for a change. Do we have to do ALL the heavy lifting just because of our greater upper body strength, ladies?

I had refused to allow myself to say this for a long time, but I like Justin Timberlake. *NSYNC was awful enough to make me hate him for a long time, but his appearances on SNL and Jimmy Fallon made me think he may be able to do some decent comedy. Friends with Benefit only supports that. He’s both charming and funny in this movie, and good-looking and naked enough that ladies and gays would be all over it. For the mens and other gays, Mila Kunis is hot. Real hot. And pretty damned funny to boot. She’s also charming and funny, and both actors put on a pretty good performance during the short-lived drama parts. The things they said to each other in the inevitable part where they get angry at each other would sting pretty badly in a real fight as well. Richard Jenkins doesn’t add much comedy as Timberlake’s father, but he adds some heart to his parts because of his advancing Alzheimer’s. On the exact opposite side, Patricia Clarkson doesn’t bring much drama, but brings plenty of humor as Kunis’ hippie mom. She’s almost as funny here as she was in Easy A. It’s not too much of a surprise that Jenna Elfman does some good funny in her short time in the movie. One of my favorite things she did seemed improvised, when they were having dinner and Timberlake and Jenkins were talking about sports, and Elfman was sitting to the side mumbling to herself “We get it, you guys like sports.” blah blah blah. Also not in the movie very long, but very enjoyable and original in his performance, was Woody Harrelson. He played a very masculine sports columnist, but he was also very, VERY gay. He talked with Timberlake in a way that most guys talk to each other in movies, but instead of pussy, he was all about the wang. The cameo performances are nice, but don’t really add much to the movie.

I can thoroughly recommend this movie to you guys. I got it from RedBox, so it didn’t cost me very much money to watch this, and I don’t really feel the need to go out and buy it immediately, but I will probably add it to my collection eventually. I think you’d do well to put it on your Netflix queue or your RedBox reserve. Guys have Kunis, Girls have Timberlake, and both get a good amount of funny and an interesting enough story, with pretty good performances throughout. If you’re only going to see one of the plethora of “friend fucking movies”, I recommend this one. Friends with Benefits gets “Your breasts. They intrigue me” out of “I can work with that”.

Hey, peeps. Why not rate and comment on this as a favor to good ole Robert, eh? And tell your friends! Let’s make me famous!

Hot Rod (2007)


The Movie Brave Enough to be Viciously Unfunny

This movie definitely came as a punishment for having the gall to do something creative and productive. My involvement with this movie started when my friend Robert reported to his brother Phil and the rest of my group that this movie was the funniest movie ever. He talked it up so much that my group met up to watch this movie. We were almost the only people in the theater, but it had been out for a bit so we didn’t think that was unusual. What we did think was unusual was the fact that we wanted to kill ourselves while watching it. Bring us up into the present and the first movie requested by one of my best friends, Phil, is this movie again. It makes me wonder if he thinks he’s in my will or something. Well, enough pussyfooting around the issue. This movie is Hot Rod, directed by Akiva Schaffer and starring Andy Samberg, Isla Fisher, Danny McBride, Bill Hader, Jorma Taccone, Ian McShane, Sissy Spacek, Will Arnett, and Chris Parnell.

Rod Kimble (Andy Samberg) has tried to emulate his deceased father for his entire life by trying to be a stuntman. Problem is, he sucks at it. Every time he tries to jump something he crashes and injures himself. It’s partially due to his stupidity, but one could also blame his ramp builder Rico (Danny McBride) for his shoddy craftsmanship. Rod lives at home with his mom (Sissy Spacek) and his stepfather (Ian McShane), as well as his little half brother/team manager Kevin (Jorma Taccone). For nearly inexplicable reasons, Rod is constantly trying to beat his stepfather in a fist fight, but is never able. His stepfather has apparently had a heart condition for a long time and it is revealed to Rod that his step father doesn’t have long to live. Unless, of course, he’s able to accomplish the highly unlikely task of raising $50,000 for his heart transplant. A good portion of the rest of the movie is basically a really long montage of Rod preparing for a gigantic jump to make the money. There’s also a pretty typical love interest thing in there between Rod and Denise (Isla Fisher), but she has a boyfriend (Will Arnett). Kevin makes a video of Rod crashing a lot that makes Rod doubt his abilities, but also makes people interested in watching him jump. His team convinces him to go through with the jump, an AM radio station sponsor’s it, he fails the jump but makes the money, and gets Denise. At the end, he finally beats his stepfather in combat.

Expectations are a really important thing when it comes to movies. If you go in to see a move you’ve heard is awful and it turns out to be mediocre, you come out pleasantly surprised with positive memories in your brain. If you’ve heard that a movie is hilarious and you spend the entire movie waiting for a time when you will laugh, you will want to kill yourself. The best thing I can say about Hot Rod is that, this time, I went in knowing it was awful so it was nowhere near as painful as it was the first time. Is it good? Hell no! Is it funny? Not even remotely. But, I didn’t kill myself. Sometimes, that’s all you can ask for.

Let’s talk story and laughs. …Okay, there aren’t any. The story is pretty typical and one I’m sure we’ve all seen in better movies before. Someone needs an operation that costs a certain amount of money, something comes along that will pay exactly the amount needed, everything works out. Also you have love interest, problem, resolution. And, just for good measure, throw in some of the old “guy with a passion for something, doubts himself, begins to believe in himself again”. All very typical. What could set that apart in a comedy is some good laughs. Should’ve told them that before they made the movie, I guess. The jokes in this movie span from trying to be funny but failing to epically unfunny. The greater majority of their jokes are slapstick jokes of people falling down a hill for about 5 minutes or so. This came right after – and subsequently ruined – one of the closest parts in the movie to amusing, when Rod gets angry and has to go to the woods to dance it out, doing a parody of Footloose. This is cute for a while, then they ruin it with slapstick humor again. And, if they’re not that, they’re strange jokes that I’m sure someone thought was humorous when they were writing it, but I just found pointless and annoying. Examples of this is when Rod rang a bell and they went around their group trying to imitate the tone with their voice. …Funny, right? Or how about when Rod and Frank were reconciling after a fight and they ended it with “Cool beans”, and then took that and cut it up so they were almost making a rap out of cool beans. I can’t really explain it, and I don’t want to. Rod also tends to be unable to keep his thoughts in his head and so he says most of them out loud. Also, for some reason, he tries to call upon the spirit of random animals before he attempts a jump. There was also a joke about the pronunciation of “whiskey” and “what” in the movie that you may remember from an episode of Family Guy when Stewie over-pronounces the “h” in Cool Whip. And yes, I did do the research. That episode of Family Guy came out a year before this movie. It was in the episode Barely Legal from 2006. I’m not saying that the makers of Hot Rod are unfunny people that copied Family Guy, I’m just saying they’re unfunny.

I feel like I can describe my thoughts about the performances in this movie in once sentence: “I normally like *blank*, but they did nothing to elevate this movie above crap.” That will pretty much cover it. Andy Samberg’s crew all have roughly the same cocky idiot persona in the movie. Danny McBride plays every other Danny McBride character minus the funny things to say, though he is probably the one that comes the closest to being funny. Isla Fisher does a fine job, but I admittedly mostly liked her because she’s cute. She pretty obviously wants Rod (pun intended), but he’d rather ruin it for most of the movie by being a cocky idiot. Will Arnett’s performance was interesting because he seemed to be the one person in the movie who realized the events of the movie were stupid and unfunny, so I was able to relate to him. Sissy Spacek was the mother in this movie, and the performance she put on when she had to confess to Rod that his father wasn’t actually a daredevil was way too good for this movie.

Beyond the somewhat enjoyable, 80’s rock soundtrack, there’s nothing in this movie that makes it worth watching. It takes a bunch of overused premises and mixes them in to a bunch of stupid slapstick jokes and non sequitars. I like almost every person that acted in this movie, but the movie was so bad that this didn’t matter. If you think America’s Funniest Home Videos is the funniest thing on television (as long as you think that solely because of the videos of people getting hit in the groin), then this may be a movie you’ll enjoy. Everyone else, I wouldn’t bother. And I would just like to say that you are all welcome for me lowering your expectations about this movie so you don’t have the same problem my friends and I had. I give Hot Rod “I said you look shitty” out of “I owe you a shot in the nuts.”

Hey, peeps. Why not rate and comment on this as a favor to good ole Robert, eh? And tell your friends! Let’s make me famous!