A romantic comedy’s success firmly stands on how well the romantic leads work together. If there is no chemistry between the actors there can be no chemistry between the characters. There is something between Anna Faris, who plays Ally Darling and Chris Evans who plays Colin Shea. Ally is in sort of a rut. She’s just been fired from her marketing job and then she makes the biggest mistake a woman her age can make: she follows advice from one of those girly magazines. She realizes that she’s slept with way too many guys (the national average is apparently 10.5) and her friends tell her that if she keeps having failed relationships she’s doomed to never settle down and get married. This begins a whole crusade to track down her ex-boyfriends in hopes that perhaps one of them has changed enough to be her dream man. Spoiler alert: he’s actually waiting across the hall. Ally enlists the help of her too-jock-like-to-be-a-struggling-musician across the hall neighbor Colin (Evans). Apparently Colin knows how to get dirt on people since he used to go on stakeouts with his cop dad. Anyone with half a brain can tell you that Colin and Ally will end up together in the end (but not before a temporary setback in which they have an argument or fight and then one of them seeks the other out to professes their love to the other in which the other one realizes they love the other one too and then they kiss and live happily ever after).
To be honest, I rooted for Ally and Colin but that’s mostly because I find Faris and Evans to be some of the most charming actors working today. They’re so likable you forget that the script refuses to let them be together until the last 15 minutes or so. And Ally is such an beautiful girl you wonder why she’s attracted so many losers. These include a puppeteer played by Andy Samberg, her creepy ex-boss played by Joel McHale, and a former fatty but newly svelte and engaged guy played by Faris’ real life beau Chris Pratt. With all these obvious losers behind her, I’m not quite sure why Ally wouldn’t just immediately throw herself at Colin, but I guess even some women who’ve slept with 20 guys have some standards. Meanwhile, there’s a subplot involving Ally’s younger sister Daisy’s (Ari Graynor) wedding and her attempts to avoid her overbearing mother played wonderfully by Blythe Danner.
I think one of the major flaws of the film is its attempts to be just plain filthy. Ally, Daisy, and their friends talk about sex and vaginas and penises, and while it’s refreshing to here women talk about this stuff rather than men, it felt rather forced to me. It was as if they were trying to compete with movies like “Bridesmaids” in the raunch department. Screenwriters Gabrielle Allan and Jennifer Crittenden (and director Mark Mylod) seem more interested in finding ways to get Colin and Ally undressed than to have any character say or do anything remotely profound. And the comedy part of this romantic comedy sort of lacks too. Faris is hilarious and she has a few standout moments and lines, but otherwise she’s playing it remotely safe. She’s as likable as ever, but she has yet to find a starring role that really plays to her brilliant comedic talents.