What’s Your Number? (2011)

Photo Source: Wikipedia

Directed by: Mark Mylod

Cast: Anna Faris (1), Chris Evans (2), Ari Graynor (3), Dave Annable (4), Heather Burns (5), Chris Pratt (6), Zachary Quinto (7), Mike Vogel (8), Martin Freeman (9), Andy Samberg (10), Thomas Lennon (11), Anthony Mackie (12), and Blythe Danner (13)

My favourite quote – “I’m happiest when I’m being myself and I’m myself when I’m with you.”

Did you know? – What’s Your number is based on Karyn Bosnak’s book 20 Times A Lady.

I love this movie. The messages in this film really resonate with me. And I’m not talking about the number of people I’ve had sex with. That is private information that no one on the web needs to know.

What I’m talking about is the themes, about finding yourself, being yourself, and remembering that love shouldn’t change that about you.

The lead character Ally Darling, wonderfully portrayed by Anna Faris, is a lost soul still stumbling in life. I connected with the character of Ally because once upon a time, I was her.

In What’s Your Number?, the protagonist Ally Darling reads an article about how the average number of men women sleep with is 10.5 and that women who have slept with more than 20 men typically don’t end up married. Her number is at 20, so she sets off to find her past boyfriends to see if any of them are now her Mr Right.

A Good Horse Never Eats Returned Grass (好马不吃回头草)

“If he was so perfect, why didn’t it work out in the first place?”
– Colin

There’s a very good Mandarin saying – 好马不吃回头草. According to digchinese.com that phrase mean that “an ambitious horse will never return to its old stable.” I see it as saying that one shouldn’t take a step backwards and make the same mistakes again.

Ally: Oh my God, he found Dave Hanson.
Daisy: Wait are you tracking down all your ex boyfriends so you don’t have to go over 20?
Eileen: What?
Ally: Think about it, you know if it works out with one of these guys, that means a whole period of my life won’t have been a waste.
Daisy: Yup, but it didn’t work out with any of those guys because they were all wrong for you.

Relationships fail for a reason, or for many reasons. If those reasons still exist between a couple and are not resolved, then it makes sense to think that it will fail again for those same reasons.

I used all my miles for that. Cross Barrett off the list. You know what, cross the list off the list. What am I doing? Unemployed, spending every last dime trying to track down these assholes who already broke up with me once, maybe I should just quit.
– Ally

However, not every failed relationship means that that guy will never be right for you.

People Change

Yes, change is the only constant. And people do change. Some for the better, others for the worse. And there are those who only change a small bit.

Ally: I can’t believe that he said that we were just friends. Like I was the embarrassment. He had man boobs! Big hairy ones. God, I can’t believe that’s the same guy. He looks so good now, he even looks taller.
Daisy: Why do men get better with age? I mean, you said yourself, Eddie used to be a total douche. People change.
Ally: You’re right. Daisy, you’re a genius. I don’t have to be celibate or go over 20.
Daisy: What do you mean?
Ally: Donald can’t be my only ex who’s gotten better over time.

But it is evident through the film that not every failed relationship can be made good. And not every failed relationship is destined to be doomed again.

Daisy: You have to fix this.
Ally: I’ll talk to her when I get back.
Daisy: Where are you going?
Ally: Miami, for a pap smear.
Daisy: Why?
Ally: Do you remember Barrett Ingold?
Daisy: The guy who threw up in our dishwasher?
Ally: Yup. He’s a gynecologist now.
Daisy: But you hate Miami.
Ally: I know but I’m not having as much luck as I’d hope locally and I’m running out of time, money, and viable eggs.
Daisy: So you’re telling me that tracking down your ex boyfriends is more important than helping me plan my wedding.
Ally: I know it sounds stupid to you but it is important. I feel like everyone is moving on with their lives but me.
Daisy: Ally, I’m all for moving on, I really am, but it just feels like this quest that you’re on is a little nuts.
Ally: You know what if you hadn’t given your ex boyfriend a second chance you wouldn’t even be having a wedding.

Daisy and Eddie are the exception. But don’t forget these wise words from He’s Just Not That Into You – “You’re the rule.” Or could be the rule. What works for one person doesn’t automatically mean it will work for you too.

Know Yourself, Be Yourself

“To love others you must first love yourself.” – Leo Buscaglia, from the book Love

I think this is very true. If you don’t know who you are and love who you are, how can you present your true self to someone else and ask them to love you for who you are. But I admit, finding yourself is not an easy task. And having the courage to be yourself is also very difficult.

There is the fear that by being yourself and showing who you really are, you might drive people away. We fear that we will not be accepted for who we truly are. But I think honesty is the best thing for a couple.

Be brave and be yourself. If the guy or girl walks away, then it isn’t worth wasting any more time on him or her.

Colin: How do you feel about Denver? I found the mountain man and that guy has got a kaboose worth relocating for.
Ally: Pass. He always wanted to breathe fresh air. You know how exhausting it was to pretend to enjoy the outdoors with that kind of enthusiasm.
Colin: More exhausting than pretending to be British?
Ally: I never had to wipe myself with a leaf when I was pretending to be British.
Colin: Touché.

Anna Faris’ Ally Darling reminds me of Julia Robert’s character Maggie Carpenter in Runaway Bride. Maggie always conformed to the man she was dating at the time. And Ally is the same. She pretends to be a vegetarian, pretends to be into politics, she even pretends to be British to appear more attractive to the guy she thinks she should be with and wants to impress.

Colin: So you’re gonna try to make it work with Jake, a guy you haven’t seen in years just so you don’t over the number 20?
Ally: It’s not just about a number anymore, okay.
Colin: Well then what is it?
Ally: It’s what I want!
Colin: You don’t know what you want Ally! You’re so busy trying to be what everyone else wants you to be you don’t know who you are.
Ally: At least I have relationships. You can’t even hang out with a woman for 24 hours without sleeping with her.
Colin: That was true until I met you.
Ally: Well, I’m sure if we slept together you’d be long gone by now because that’s who you are Colin, and that’s who you’ll always be.
Colin: Alright. Whatever you say Ally. You obviously have it all figured out.
Ally: And I do know who I am. I’m someone who’s not gonna let another undeserving asshole into my heart or my vagina!

Once I asked a friend of mine this, “what was your first impression of me?” Her reply, “doormat.”

Just one word.

That summed up my meek and weak personality. I let people tell me what to do, how I should do it. I didn’t think for myself. How could I then fight for what I wanted?

Today, I’m far from meek. I speak my mind, and if I disagree, I’ll argue my point. Well, I am not exactly a tyrant with my boyfriend but compared to the old me, I am much more opinionated and I know how to stand up for myself or say no.

At work, now that’s a different story. I’m a doberman at work.

The Perfect Job

Roger: Let me buy these drinks, I feel really bad about today?
Ally: Really? Thanks. I can’t afford them anyway.
Roger: Can I be honest with you? You never seemed to like marketing anyhow.
Ally: I liked it.
Roger: Yeah but you didn’t love it. I guess I did you a favour. Now you can go get a job that you love with a boss that you like.

Unlike Ally, I have found my perfect job.

My boss just wrapped up his first real KPI review with me yesterday and he asked me what makes me get up and go to work every day. I told him that the job I do now combines the best of both worlds for me. That’s what gets me going.

Colin: Hey did you ever try and sell those freaky little sculptures that you make?
Daisy: No, she needs a real job.
Ally: Oh yeah, those are just a hobby.
Colin: I think they’re amazing. You should try. Not everyone can do that.

I love to travel and I love to write. I suppose travel is my hobby and writing is my job. But who says your job and your hobby can’t be one and the same?

Ally: It’s a good thing you play the guitar because you suck at basketball.
Colin: Well you can’t be good at everything. It just wouldn’t be fair.
Ally: And I can’t believe that you can play Lionel Richie.
Colin: I can play a lot of things.
Ally: So how come you don’t make a living out of it. You’re really good.
Colin: Ah… I want to play my own music.
Ally: Don’t you worry about paying the rent. I don’t love marketing but…
Colin: What do you love?
Ally: I love making those freaky little sculptures, but I’m not gonna make any money at that.
Colin: How do you know? You’ve never tried.
Ally: I’ve never jumped into the Harbour either, doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.
Colin: I think it’s a great idea. I think it’s the best idea you’ve ever had.

I always thought that writing for television was all I wanted to do in my life. If I wasn’t desperate to get out of the rut I had put myself in, I wouldn’t have tried everything and applied for all sorts of jobs the way I did last year. And I wouldn’t have found this current job I’m in.

Everything Happens For A Reason

Yup. I do believe that everything happens for a reason.

Ally: Oh shit!
Daisy: What?
Ally: That’s Disgusting Donald! I dated him.
Daisy: Did I ever meet him?
Ally: No. Nobody did. He’s the reason I learnt to cook.

I’ve dated 9 guys before my current boyfriend and truth be told, with each passing relationship I learnt something new about myself. I also learnt about the traits I like and dislike in a partner.

#1 broke up with me after 3 months of dating because he realised that he liked me as a sister not as a girlfriend. He taught me that there are all kinds of love.

I broke up with #2 because it was my turn to realise, after our first kiss, that I didn’t like him more than a friend. I then realised that #1 wasn’t jerking me around for kicks. He, like me, probably didn’t realise it until it was too late.

#3 broke up with me after he didn’t need me to boost his popularity at school anymore. He taught me that I shouldn’t see the world with rose tinted glasses and assume that all guys are inherently good.

#4 taught me that being clingy and needy would only push guys away. I lost sight of who I was and lost the spark and personality that he initially fell for. I would also later learn that a failed relationship would not miraculously work unless you’ve fixed all the problems you had earlier. So getting back together with an ex boyfriend might not have a positive effect at all.

#5 was the perfect guy for me at the time. But as much as I thought he was perfect for me, he didn’t think I was perfect for him at that very moment. We were not even 20 then, I understood that we were too young to settle down and we mutually parted. He taught me that there are many ‘the ones’ in one’s lifetime, but they don’t become Mr or Ms Right unless they appear in your life at the right time, right place, and right situation. #5 also helped me realise that honesty is the best policy and that I had learnt from my mistakes with #4.

#6 made me realise that I wanted to be taken care of and pampered instead of being the mothering and caring one. I didn’t want to wear the pants in the relationship.

#7 helped me get out of my comfort zone and made me realise that the man had as much of a part to play in making a girl feel needy, clingy, and insecure. I also learnt that when the breakup is recent, you might think its the end of the world and you’d never meet someone else again, but you’re actually wrong. You will love again. I also learnt that I should stop falling for guys who’ve got baggage because I’m the rule not the exception with them.

#8 made me realise that I wanted a man who would make me a better person and vice versa. It made me realise that if I didn’t want to make sacrifices for the guy, then maybe I didn’t love him at all.

#9 woke me up and showed me how much I’ve grown as a person over the years. He proved to me that I learnt something from my failed relationship with #7 and it eventually helped me to spot the downhill signs before it got worse. I managed to get over it much faster because of my failed relationship with #7. I also learnt that timing is everything and that friends don’t always make the best boyfriends.

Yup, it’s been a long journey but I think they all happened so that when I would meet Mr Right, I would know how to spot him because I would already know what I need and want. And to avoid Mr Wrong at all cost.

Spotting Mr Wrong, Meeting Mr Right

Daisy: Uh Ally, I could have told you it wouldn’t have worked out with Rick two months ago.
Ally: Why?
Daisy: You love meat, you hate cyclists.
Ally: I do love meat.
Daisy: And to be honest, I was always a little worried about the way he kept wanting to do it doggie style.
Ally: Some people like that you know.
Daisy: No, nobody likes it. Even the dogs are just waiting for it to be over.
Ally: How many relationships do I have to have before I meet the right guy?
Daisy: Er, evidently a lot.

And truth be told, if I needed those 9 relationships to hit the bulls eye eventually. I’d gladly suffer those heartbreaks all over again. I suppose this clarity came about after #7.

It was at a time when I was shooting (archery) seriously. And I trained about 3 to 4 times a week just to get better at hitting the bulls eye.

If I can do that just so I can get better at archery, I could definitely put my failed relationships to good use, as lessons in love and relationships.

And now, I finally know how to spot what is just perfect for me.

Jake: What’s going on? Are you okay?
Ally: Jake there actually is something here in Boston that’s really important to me. And as much as I want to travel the world, I’m not sure I want to do it with you. Which is insane I know because you’re perfect. But you’re not perfect for me and I don’t think I’m perfect for you. I’m so sorry Jake. If I had been honest with myself earlier, or ever, I wouldn’t have put you through all this.
Jake: Yeah, well that would have been preferable.

It may have taken a long time, but at least I finally hit the X. And you know what? I agree with the messages of the film. But my favourite message is about how the right person won’t care about your past and will only look forward to a future with you.

The Definition Of Mr Right & Decent Guys

Colin: I don’t know why you care so much about the number anyway
Ally: You guys all have this ideal girl in your minds, and if our number gets too high, we can’t be that girl.
Colin: The ideal girl. Tell me about her.
Ally: You know, you can take her home to the family, she’s smart, but not smarter than you, and she bakes apple pies with your mom and place catch with your handicap sister. But then when you’re alone, she takes off her glasses and puts on a vinyl cat suit and fucks you sideways.
Colin: That girl doesn’t exist, if she did, I’d be sleeping with her. And what kind of guy cares about how many people you slept with anyway?
Ally: Decent guys.

Colin’s got the right idea. Your past shouldn’t matter if the guy truly loves you.

Ally: I think the last time we slow danced was prom night.
Jake: Yeah. Yeah it was. I remember that. I believe that was also the night when you finally gave me the honour of making you unfit for every other man in the village.
Ally: Oh boy. I know that this isn’t the ideal place to tell you but I to be honest. You weren’t my first.
Jake: I wasn’t?
Ally: No. I’m sorry.
Jake: So you’ve been with 2 guys in your life. Big deal.
Ally: More like 2 times 10.
Jake: Right. Like you’ve had sex with 20 guys. Yuck.
Ally: (laughs sheepishly) Gross.
Jake: Well I may not have been your first but maybe I’ll be your last.
Ally: Why? Are you gonna rape and kill me?
Jake: No, but I’m gonna kiss you. Come with me for a second. So, how does dinner in Milan and breakfast in Paris sound?
Ally: Starchy.
Jake: I’ve got to do a little travelling for the foundation and I’d love it if you came with me.
Ally: Seriously?
Jake: Uhmm.
Ally: For how long?
Jake: 6 months. I know it sounds like a long time, but you know you’re between jobs and your little sculpture things can wait. And if you think about it, the only thing that’s keeping you in Boston is me, and I’m leaving.

And I think that Mr Right will not only make you feel like you’re a better version of yourself, you’ll also feel special because he’s better because he’s with you.

One person’s needs should not be more important than the other person’s. That is how a true balanced relationship should be.

I mean if you’re not happy, why stay in the relationship right?

“I’m happiest when I’m being myself and I’m myself when I’m with you.”
– Ally

What is Love?

What’s Your Number? is a romantic comedy, so naturally, love is the main theme. But what is love?

Eddie: Daisy Darling, today I make these vows to you. I will never rhyme crazy with Daisy, even if I mean if I mean like crazy good. I will not blow my nose in the shower. I promise to always consult you before getting a haircut and I’ll never grow a mustache.
Daisy: Or a soul patch.
Eddie: No.
Daisy: I will not blame you for the bad decisions you make in my dreams. I will keep an eye on that suspicious freckle on your bad even though I’ll really sure it’s nothing. And I will not get mad at you about everything, when I am only really mad at you about one thing.

I really liked the vows Eddie and Daisy said to each other. It was unique to those characters. But love isn’t just between a man and a woman. This film also briefly touches on the love between sisters and mothers.

Ally: Hi everyone. When Daisy and Eddie first got together, I have to admit, I was a little nervous. I could tell that it was serious and I thought that the closer she got to him the further away she’d get from me. But that didn’t happen. Not only do I see more of Daisy, I see a happier even better Daisy. It’s like with Eddie she’s completely herself. When you’re a big sister it’s your job to teach your little sister everything. You know… how to ride a bike, how to lie to your parents, how to kiss… not with tongue. Settle down Uncle Charlie. But I never thought about what my little sister could teach me until right now. So I want to thank you Daisy. Thank you for teaching me that being in love means being yourself. To Daisy and Eddie!

Daisy taught Ally about love. But it also helped me remember that “love means being yourself.”

Mum: Where’s Jake going?
Ally: He’s leaving.
Mum: What? In the middle of the reception? Why?
Ally: Because I never should have brought him here in the first place.
Mum: You’re gonna let him go? Oh Ally. I don’t understand you Ally. Why? Why are you doing this? Honey, you were finally happy.
Ally: No! You were finally happy. I don’t want to marry Jake Adams. That’s not who I am. I’m a jobless whore who slept with 20 guys.
Mum: Shh…
Ally: And I want to be with somebody who appreciates that about me. You may not understand me mum but you don’t have to. All you have to do is love me. I know that I’m not perfect but that’s why you have Daisy.
Daisy: My dress is too tight because I’m 4 months pregnant.
Ally: What?! You’re pregnant!
Daisy: Yes, now get out of here. (to everyone else) Surprise!

Oh! And that parents want what’s best for you. So even if they seem too pushy and even if they don’t love you the way that you want them to, the important thing is that they do.

The themes of the film really speak to me, but another reasons why I love it is because it makes me laugh. Check it out and let me know if it resonates with you too.

(1) Anna Faris is currently playing the role of Christy Plunkett in Mom (2013-present) and has acted in films like Scary Movie (2000), Scary Movie 2 (2001), The Hot Chick (2002), Lost In Translation (2003), Scary Movie 3 (2003), Brokeback Mountain (2005), Just Friends (2005), Scary Movie 4 (2006), My Super Ex-Girlfriend (2006), The House Bunny (2008), The Dictator (2012), Movie 43 (2013), and I Give It A Year (2013). She has also voiced the character Sam Sparks in the animation Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs (2009) and Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2 (2013). She also voiced Jeanette Miller in Alvin And The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (2009) and Alvin And The Chipmunks: Chipwrecked (2011), and Rachel Johnson in Yogi Bear (2010).

(2) Chris Evans has acted in films like Not Another Teen Movie (2001), The Perfect Score (2004), The Cellular (2004), Fantastic Four (2005), TMNT (2007), Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer (2007), The Nanny Diaries (2007), Street Kings (2008), Push (2009), The Losers (2010), Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World (2010), Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), The Avengers (2012), Snowpiercer (2013), Thor: The Dark World (2013), Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), Playing It Cool (2015), and Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

(3) Ari Graynor has acted in films like Mystic River (2003), Nick And Norah’s Infinite Playlist (2008), Whip It (2009), Lucky (2011), 10 Years (2012), Celeste And Jesse Forever (2012), and Bad Teacher (2014).

(4) Dave Annable has acted in films like Little Black Book (2004), and You May Not Kiss The Bride (2011). He also played the character Justin Walker in the television series Brothers & Sisters (2006-2011).

(5) Heather Burns has acted in films like You’ve Got Mail (1998), Miss Congeniality (2000), Two Weeks Notice (2002), Miss Congeniality 2: Armed & Fabulous (2005), and Bewitched (2005).

(6) Chris Pratt has acted in films like Wanted (2008), Bride Wars (2009), Jennifer’s Body (2009), Moneyball (2011), Take Me Home Tonight (2011), The Five-Year Engagement (2012), Zero Dark Thirty (2012), Movie 43 (2013), Her (2013), Guardians Of The Galaxy (2014), and Jurassic World (2015). He currently plays Andy Dwyer in the television series Parks And Recreation (2009-present) and voiced the lead character of Emmet Brickowski in the animation The Lego Movie (2014).

(7) Zachary Quinto has played Adam Kaufman in the television series 24 (2003-2004) and the role of Gabriel Gray/Sylar in Heroes (2006-2010). He has acted in other television series like Touched By An Angel, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Lizzie McGuire, Six Feet Under, Six Feet Under, Charmed, American Horror Story: Murder House, American Horror Story: Asylum, Girls, and Hannibal. He’s also acted in the films Star Trek (2009), Margin Call (2011), Star Trek Into Darkness (2013), Hitman: Agent 47 (2015), and Snowden (2016).

(8) Mike Vogel has acted in films like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003), The Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants (2005), Havoc (2005), Rumor Has It (2005), Poseidon (2006), Cloverfield (2008), Across The Hall (2009), Blue Valentine (2010), She’s Out Of My League (2010), and The Help (2011). He’s also played the role of Dr Chris ‘C’ Deleo in Miami Medical (2010), and Dave Hansen in Pan Am (2011).

(9) Martin Freeman has acted in films like Ali G Indahouse (2002), Love Actually (2003), The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy (2005), Dedication (2007), Wild Target (2010), The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012), The World’s End (2013), The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug (2013), and The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies (2014). He is also currently playing Dr John Watson in the television series Sherlock (2010-present).

(10) Andy Samberg has acted in films like Nick And Norah’s Infinite Playlist (2008), I Love You, Man (2009), Friends With Benefits (2011), and Celeste And Jesse Forever (2012). He has also voiced the character Brent McHale in the animation Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs (2009) and Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2 (2013).

(11) Thomas Lennon has acted in films like Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999), Memento (2000), Le Divorce (2003), How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days (2003), A Guy Thing (2003), Herbie: Fully Loaded (2005), The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy (2005), Hancock (2008), Night At The Museum: Battle Of The Smithsonian (2009), 17 Again (2009), I Love You, Man (2009), Bad Teacher (2011), A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas (2011), What To Expect When You’re Expecting (2012), The Dark Knight Rises (2012), We’re The Millers (2013), Transformers: Age Of Extinction (2014), and Monster Trucks (2015).

(12) Anthony Mackie has acted in films like 8 Mile (2002), The Manchurian Candidate (2004), Million Dollar Baby (2004), Eagle Eye (2008), The Hurt Locker (2009), The Adjustment Bureau (2011), Real Steel (2011), Man On A Ledge (2012), Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012), and The Gangster Squad (2012).

(13) Blythe Danner has acted in films like Forces Of Nature (1999), Meet the Parents (2000), Meet the Fockers (2004), The Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants 2 (2008), Little Fockers (2010), The Lucky One (2012), and Tumbledown (2015).

Final Thoughts:

What’s Your Number? will remind that the right guy would accept you for you who are, so don’t be afraid to be yourself. I love Anna Faris as the lead and Chris Evans is so great at playing the Casanova. I was thoroughly entertained by all the silly things she did to hunt down her exes but I was also delighted that I had already realised what she only just did at the end of the film. That “being in love means being yourself” and that you should make yourself happy, instead of making people happy and forgetting to love yourself first. (4 of 5)

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6 responses to “What’s Your Number? (2011)

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