Mini Reviews (September 2011)
Creature, What's Your Number?
Creature (September 7/11)
A seriously bottom-of-the-barrel horror effort, Creature follows six friends as they find themselves under attack from some kind of monster in the swamps of Louisiana. The paint-by-numbers nature of both the setup and the characters is initially not as problematic as one might've feared, as filmmaker Fred Andrews does nice job of initially establishing the mysterious threat as well as the admittedly one-dimensional protagonists. The movie first stumbles as Andrews needlessly emphasizes the exploits of several typically idiotic locals, and there does reach a point at which one can't help but wish that the filmmaker would just get on with it already. The inclusion of time-wasting elements slowly-but-surely drains the viewer's interest and patience, while the interminable midsection, which seems to consist primarily of long, tedious scenes in which characters skulk around in the dark, effectively triggers Creature's transformation from a watchable time-waster into a seriously, shockingly boring piece of work. It's worth noting, too, that the movie doesn't improve even as the bad stuff starts to go down, with Andrews' progressively questionable directorial choices - eg choppy slow motion - diminishing the impact of the movie's sparse kill sequences. By the time the nonsensical twist ending rolls around, Creature has certainly established itself as an uncommonly inept horror effort that's destined to leave even the hardiest of gorehounds shaking their heads in dismay.
What's Your Number? (September 29/11)
What's Your Number? follows Anna Faris' Ally Darling as she impulsively decides to make a list of all the men she's slept with and is horrified to discover that her number is much higher than any of her friends, with the film subsequently detailing Ally's efforts at tracking down the aforementioned men to see if perhaps she judged them too harshly. (There's also an ongoing subplot revolving around the friendship between Ally and Chris Evans' hunky neighbor, as his character assists Ally in locating the folks on her list.) For the most part, What's Your Number? plays like a bottom-of-the-barrel sitcom that has absolutely no basis in reality, as scripters Gabrielle Allan and Jennifer Crittenden augment the unreasonably over-the-top premise with a series of unfunny jokes and comedic set-pieces. It's thanks entirely to the charisma of the impressively populated cast that What's Your Number? remains tolerable for much of its first half, with the affable atmosphere persisting right up until the movie lumbers into its stagnant, astonishingly repetitive midsection - which is devoted to scene after scene of Ally tediously confronting her various ex-boyfriends (all of whom are broadly conceived and portrayed). From there, What's Your Number? just gets worse and worse as it goes along - with the curious decision to drop the central gimmick at around the one-hour mark effectively transforming the movie into an unreasonably hackneyed romantic comedy (ie the focus is placed on the growing bond between Faris and Evans' respective characters). By the time the fake break-up and race-to-a-loved-one third act rolls around, What's Your Number? has certainly established itself as one of the more objectionable examples of the genre to come around in quite some time - with the film's sole laugh courtesy of Ally's off-color response to a boyfriend's proclamation that he may not have been her first lover but maybe he'll be her last (ie "Why, are you going to rape and kill me?")