Studio films typically showcase three types of promiscuous women: an early victim in a horror film, a psychotic killer and the sympathetic hooker.
Though most Americans personally know none of the above, Hollywood is clearly enamored with the well-tread characters but lately, the majors are making room for a fourth type: Comedy heroine.
Coming on the heels of “Bridesmaids,” “No Strings Attached” and “Friends With Benefits,” the Anna Faris starrer “What’s Your Number?” centers on a woman who sets out to reconnect with her 20 former sex partners in an effort to find a life partner. The film, which bows Sept. 30, is based on Karyn Bosnak’s novel “Twenty Times a Lady.”
“I don’t know that there was this collective idea to start greenlighting these movies,” says Jennifer Crittenden, who wrote the film’s script with fellow TV scribe Gabrielle Allan. “I think it was more coincidence. But it’s interesting that they all sort of came together at the same time.”
“What’s Your Number?” very nearly wasn’t. After Contrafilm’s Beau Flynn and Tripp Vinson optioned the book in 2006 and set it up at New Line, the project bounced to Sony before being put in turnaround. Crittenden and Allan, who both had new babies at the time and were looking for more flexibility in their schedules than TV afforded, noticed the title on an open writing assignments list sent by their agents and wrote the script on spec.
“A lot of things on the open writing list have been there a long time, and no one really has a passion for it anymore. In retrospect, I realize that we were lucky,” says Crittenden, who began her career penning jokes for David Letterman before seguing to writing gigs on “The Simpsons,” “Seinfeld,” “Everybody Loves Raymond” and “Arrested Development.”
New Regency eventually boarded the project as financier and fully embraced the R-rated raunch. But even Regency brass were a little squeamish about the number 20.
“There were a couple of discussions with New Regency about the number,” says “Scrubs” alum Allan, who heard the numbers 12 and 18 bandied about. “But then they just allowed her to have 20 lovers. I think a lot of women who read (the script) found it refreshing to have a woman who has had quite a few lovers.”
And though distrib Fox’s marketing campaign resembles a romantic comedy like “27 Dresses” more than “The Hangover,” auds may find themselves blushing at Faris’ dialogue.
But Crittenden, who is married to “Modern Family” scribe Bill Wrubel, says they were just trying to keep the characters real and honest.
“We just wrote it the way we would talk,” she says, “which is pretty fucking R-rated.”