FOOL'S Gold

Article excerpt

THE BRILLIANTLY DAFT WORLD OF ANNA FARIS

Could Anna Faris be the most fearless funny girl of our generation? The actress has made a career out of playing smashed, slutty, and stupid (occasionally all at the same time). On-screen, she's been kicked, run over, repeatedly whacked in the head, shagged silly, and blasted across the room by a torrent of projectile spooge (twice). She's farted, upchucked, and biffed it more times than she can remember.

"I'd say I fall in 90% of the films I do," Faris says with a laugh. "But I don't mind as long as I have other flaws besides being clumsy." In person, Faris exudes a Hollywood-sweetheart glow, her baby-doll good looks suggesting she could take on any of the type-?, careergirl roles doled out to Heigl and Aniston. But slapstick and sloppy chicks continue to draw her in - it's what she knows and does best. Her expert mugging, dopey inflection, double takes, and bewildered, wide eyes have earned her comparisons to Lucille Ball, Judy Holliday, and Goldie Hawn.

"I don't know what it is I do that makes me funny," Faris, 34, says. "I think if you're really dedicating yourself, you have to embrace the idea of looking foolish. You have to be prepared that people around you are going to think you're actually incredibly dumb, and that's OK." Faris came onto the radar in 2000 as Cindy, the ditzy lead in the Scary Movie franchise, then spent the next decade stealing scenes in Lost in Translation, Brokeback Mountain, Observe and Report, and her 2008 breakout, The House Bunny, where she starred as a Playboy centerfold who gets booted from Hef s mansion and takes up a gig as a sorority mom. Her best performance, however, was in Gregg Araki's 2007 indie comedy, Smiley Face, in which she played a pothead slacker who hoovers a plate of hash cupcakes and, after a series of blunders, winds up stealing an original manuscript of The Communist Manifesto. "I had never read a script like that before," she says. "I don't think any woman has. It was this role that dudes would play. And it was a great relief not having a love interest - only weed."

Her latest role does supply Faris with a love interest - many, actually. In the rom-com What's Your Number? she plays Ally Darling, a single, thirtysomething party girl who's just been fired. When Ally reads a Marie Claire article claiming that women who've slept with more than 20 partners are less likely to get hitched (she's at 19), she swears off sex altogether until she finds "the one." After she bumps into a formerly schlubby ex who's now svelte and dating a bombshell rocket scientist, Ally enlists her neighbor (played by an insanely hot Chris Evans) to helphertrack down all her past hookups, hoping that one of them has undergone a similarly dramatic makeover.

That long list of exes includes the pimple-faced puppeteer Ally lost her virginity to (Andy Sambergin pitchperfect geek mode) and a closeted Republican senator's aide who tries to woo her into becoming his beard. …