Anna Faris is a national comedic treasure. The 34-year-old actress has been called the Lucille Ball of her generation—a funny woman who combines physical comedy with incredible timing and enlivens any material she is in. Faris's character revisits the 20 men she has had relationships with and wonders if one of them could have been true love in What's Your Number?, a romantic comedy co-starring Chris Evans that opens in theaters today.
All signs point to What's Your Number? not being the best use of Faris's talent, which is why we've compiled a guide that navigates the highs and lows of this funny lady's career. Most people first took notice of Faris in 2000's Scary Movie, a spoof of teen horror films such as Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer. Faris played Cindy Campbell—a slapstick role she once told this writer was "an amoeba of a character"—who helped elevate what could have been just another parody flick to something much more in this and its three sequels, all of which are available on both DVD and Blu-ray.
Since the gags in the Scary Movie franchise don't always fly, Faris's funniest role has got to be that of Jane F. in the stoner comedy Smiley Face by Gregg Araki. You might not have seen or ever heard of this somewhat obscure nugget of hilarity, but it is available on DVD and worth checking out to see perma-baked Jane try to navigate to the Venice Beach Hemp Festival after consuming a tray full of potent pot brownies. Faris's impersonation of a woman struggling to function through a formidable THC haze will have you in tears from laughing so hard. Even better, familiar faces like Jane Lynch, John Krasinski, Danny Trejo and Marion Ross pop up to play it straight as Jane drifts along.
Another one of Faris's best roles is Shelley Darlington, an aspiring Playboy Playmate who lives at the Mansion in The House Bunny. Faris co-produced this pet project in which her character is tricked into leaving the Mansion and ends up becoming a sorority house mother to a bunch of misfit girls on a college campus. Shelley is somewhat clueless and warped after years of frolicking at the Mansion, but her heart is in the right place as she helps the girls attract men's attention and tries to impress Colin Hanks, who somehow keeps a straight face as Faris becomes kookier and kookier on their date. The House Bunny co-stars funny ladies Emma Stone and Kat Dennings and is available on both DVD and Blu-ray.
As hilarious as Faris can be, sometimes she is dropped into projects that even she can't save. Is anyone up for another round of The Hot Chick? How about Waiting… or Observe and Report? Didn't think so. Faris was also wasted in the lame live-action family flick Yogi Bear and the desperate '80s homage Take Me Home Tonight.
In other movies, a little Faris goes a long way. She was fun as the lascivious lesbian vet assistant who comes on to the titular character in the horror film May, the Cameron Diaz-ish actress bumbling through a karaoke session in Tokyo in Lost in Translation, a big-haired beauty and one of the only bright moments in Brokeback Mountain, and a woman with a secret crush in My Super Ex-Girlfriend. All of them showcase Faris's unwavering commitment to giving us something to laugh about.