out of Five
Running time: 86
Enjoyable, frequently amusing buddy comedy that earns points for
focusing on the central female friendship and for its refreshingly
frank and breezy attitude to sex, though it's slightly let down by a
late-arriving plot development that fails to fully convince.
What's it all about?
Directed by Jamie Travis, For A Good Time, Call... stars co-writer
Lauren Miller as uptight New Yorker Lauren, who loses her job,
boyfriend and apartment in quick succession and is forced to move in
with bawdy, outgoing Katie (Ari Graynor), who Lauren has hated since
college ever since their mutual gay best friend (Justin Long as
Jessie) introduced them and there was an unfortunate incident
involving a cup of piss. Despite some initial animosity between them,
Lauren's interest in Katie is piqued when she discovers she has a
lucrative part-time job working for a phone sex company.
When Lauren persuades Katie that she should start her own phone sex
business, Katie agrees, on the condition that Lauren becomes her
business partner and soon the pair are rolling in money and bonding
over their new-found success. At the same time, Lauren tries to hide
her new business venture from her nosey parents (Mimi Rogers and Don
McManus), while Katie finds herself drawn to shy regular customer Sean
Graynor and Miller are both excellent, generating a sparky chemistry
together that is extremely appealing. Graynor, in particular, has made
a career out of enjoyably foul-mouthed supporting roles, so it's a
treat to see her given a decent part for once. Miller is equally good
and handles the subtle transformation in her character well, while
there's strong comic support from Long (always good value, though a
little underused here), Nia Vardalos (as Lauren's would-be boss) and a
handful of amusing cameos from the likes of Kevin Smith and Seth Rogen
(Miller's real-life husband) as phone sex customers.
Phone sex scenes on film are often excruciating to watch, but the
script makes it work here, earning points for treating sex in a
refreshingly frank, breezy and non-judgemental way (neither character
is made to feel guilty for what they're doing). The film also deserves
praise for centring the story on the relationship between the two
women rather than on their efforts to find men (it's tempting to make
comparisons with Bridesmaids in that regard).
The only real problem with the film is that a late-arriving character
development doesn't really ring true and feels unnecessary, making the
third act less satisfying as a result. Similarly, some of the plot's
contrivances towards the end of the film feel a little too
heavy-handed, though they do at least lead to an enjoyably amusing
finale and a very funny pay-off joke.
Despite one or two flaws, For A Good Time, Call... is an enjoyable, sharply written and frequently amusing female buddy/phone sex comedy with strong comic performances from Ari Graynor and Lauren Miller. Worth seeing.