For A Good Time, Call... (18)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner02/11/2012

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 86 mins

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 (Mark Webber).

The Good
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 Bad
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.

Worth seeing?
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.

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Content updated: 19/09/2014 14:47

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