"For a Good Time, Call ..." falls somewhere between awww and ewww, where having the support of a best girlfriend and gross sexual situations are on a equal footing.
With "Bridesmaids" making a box office bundle and HBO's "Girls" being an Emmy-nominated success, raunchy chick flicks were bound to abound. At the multiplex this week, "For a Good Time, Call ..." follows immediately on the heels of the bawdy "Bachelorette."
There's a smart comedy hiding within the screenplay by star Lauren Anne Miller and co-writer and college pal Katie Anne Naylon. It features two young New Yorkers whose names are, not coincidentally, Lauren and Katie (Ari Graynor).
2 stars = Mediocre
- Starring: Lauren Anne Miller, Ari Graynor.
- Rating: R for strong sexual content throughout, language and some drug use.
The script flashes some knowing moments, as when overachiever Lauren shows up at her dream job interview to find the position has been filled through nepotism. Lauren's glowing resume, packed with charitable work, had the folks at the publishing company in stitches, she's told by a smug Nia Vardalos.
Enter the likable Justin Long as Jesse, the girls' flamboyant mutual friend. Lauren and Katie have hated each other since college, when a particularly gross incident establishes Katie as the slutty bad girl and Lauren as the straight-laced, sensible one. Katie has a great apartment that's about to lose its rent-control status, and Lauren has to leave her apartment after a sudden breakup with her boorish boyfriend. Jesse decides it's time for the ladies to woman-up and become roommates.
There are a couple of awww scenes as the girls evolve into friendship and business partners in their own phone sex line, with entrepreneurial Lauren breaking out of her shell and Katie opening up to her first-ever gal pal.
"I am above phone sex," Lauren tells herself. Apparently, not. She warms to the idea as the money piles up.
The story hits a few potholes, particularly when Lauren's well-meaning parents are put in an impossible situation that is left unresolved. Religion is brought into the equation, too, albeit in a comedic way, and that point is quickly dismissed. One of the plot points involves a date with a client, which, even with every precaution, seems like an obvious no-no in the phone sex biz.
Whether the potty-mouthed calls -- including scenes at both ends of the line -- turns you off or is good for a laugh might have to do with a couple of client cameos. One involves the filmmaker who cast Ms. Graynor in the Pittsburgh-shot "Zach and Miri Make a Porno" in the role of "moaner and groaner." "For a Good Time ..." appears to be payback time.
Ms. Graynor looks and sounds a bit like Bette Midler and at times appears to be channeling the Divine Miss M's comedic flair. You can see how Lauren would be drawn to her as a BFF. Ms. Miller plays Lauren mostly small, the better to contrast with Ms. Graynor's out-there Katie.
The movie flies by in just 86 minutes, a credit to the two stars. Both seem naive for young women who have spent time living and working in New York City, but they are a likable pair. You could see them growing up to be friends with the sometimes smart, sometimes sex-crazed ladies of "Sex and the City." They already have the vocabulary for it.
Sharon Eberson: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1960.