Director: Mark Mylod
Cast: Anna Faris, Chris Evans, Ari Graynor, Blythe Danner, Ed Begley Jr, Martin Freeman, Andy Samberg, Zachary Quinto
Synopsis: After discovering that women whom have slept with more than 20 men never find a life-time partner, Ally Darling (Faris) sets out on a mission to see if any of her exes have improved with time, as she has already reached that magical number. She enlists the help of her neighbour Colin (Evans) to track them down, in return for letting him hide out in her apartment when he wishes to escape the previous night’s exploit.
Being Valentine’s Day, I felt it appropriate to watch a romantic comedy to review today. The reviews for this film that I read prior to watching it did not promise much, but despite her film choices, I do enjoy watching Anna Faris in a film, and also given Chris Evans presence, I chose this option as it may not have been totally unbearable.
That assessment in the end turned out to be accurate. This film will win no awards, cliché manages to creep in despite a more original initial concept and the ending is entirely predictable. It does succeed in raising a few laughs along the way though. The film is at its best in the early stages while Ally is on her hunt for the elusive 20 exes. These exes provide a number of varying personality types to keep the humour from becoming too stale too quickly. Also quite entertaining is Ally’s mission making her bump into already engaged ex Donald (Faris’ husband Chris Pratt), whom understandably starts freaking out about Ally actually potentially stalking him, though this is actually not the case.
What is frustrating in this process is Ally holding out for one ex in particular, which in some respects makes the whole mission to find the other 19 moot. If there was only one that she was truly interested in, then looking for all the others strikes me as a futile effort. The trouble with a film like this is that in being so single-minded, the character becomes less likeable, and even Faris’ cute as a button appearance is unable to save the film from hitting this direction. This is particularly the case when she takes her friends’ opinion of whom she should be with over what she knows herself to be what she really wants. A protagonist with no backbone can really kill a film, especially a comedy when sympathy for the lead is an absolute requirement.
The other disappointing but not surprising element of the film is that when Ally inevitably does start to fall for Colin, the film does grind to an absolute halt. The cliché starts in full force, with attraction being admitted, a second act event separates the two having them deny their feelings, and then a third act resolution. There are some fantastic gags, verbal and visual, in these final sequences, especially involving Ally’s Dad (Begley Jr), but they are not enough to stifle the yawns of the inevitable conclusion.
There are definitely worse rom-coms out there, and this film can be considered a pleasant distraction, especially tonight being a night for romance. It won’t be rushing to the top of any awards lists any time soon, however.
3 stars out of 5