Review: FOR A GOOD TIME, CALL…

By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

 

With the recent successes of “bro-mance” movies such as I Love You Man and The Hangover, it is only fitting that ladies get some movies celebrating the close bonds that women friends share.  Last year’s Bridesmaids offered audiences a fun comedy that had a slightly raunchy and off centered side.  Men have often been maligned for embracing prurience, but to be fair, ladies are quite capable of such offenses and can sometimes behave much worse.  I ought to know because for years I have worked with mostly women at my day job.  Bridesmaids felt a bit watered down compared to The Hangover and has its share of flaws.  This year, and in fact within the same month, I had the opportunity to review two new films in the “wo-mance” genre.  The first, Bachelorette, boasts to deliver where Bridesmaids doesn’t.  My review for this movie will be posted whenever it does get released in Austin.  The second, and my favorite in this category, is another “little film that could…” titled For a Good Time, Call…

This film really should garner box office success, but probably won’t because of the bawdy content of the story which will probably keep away more conservative people. However, at the heart of this fictional phone sex film, is a truly sweet and heartwarming story of friendship between two former college enemies.  The straight-laced Lauren (Lauren Miller) and the free-spirited and outspoken Katie (Ari Graynor) reluctantly become roommates when hard times affect both of them.  Lauren eventually discovers that Katie moonlights as a phone sex operator.  When a job opportunity falls through for Lauren, the roommates decide to start their own erotic chat business.  When the business becomes a huge success, Lauren and Katie develop a close friendship.  However, this bond is strained when Lauren wants out of the sex industry.

Written by Miller and Katie Anne Naylon, Jamie Travis directs this adorable, hilarious and often naughty comedy which I highly enjoyed.  Miller and Naylon have produced a wonderfully written script that feels genuine through and through.  Most of the humor works extraordinarily and I often found myself overcome with laughter.  There are a few misses here and there, but I can easily forgive these.  These misses are the obligatory jokes played for shock value that don’t particularly deliver laughs, but do provide the fodder which may appall more demure audience members.  On that note, I must warn, even though it should not be necessary, that this movie does not pull too many punches when it comes to sexual language and content.  After all, this is a film about a phone sex business.  The filmmakers cannot make a family friendly version of this.  I found it quite amusing that some of the audience members of the screening I attended felt astonishment at the content of the film.

As for the movie’s cast, I have nothing, but high praise for them.  Lauren Miller not only proves herself as gifted writer, but also shines in her role as the once uptight prude who gets to live outside her comfort zone and really enjoy it.  Ari Graynor perfectly embodies her character Katie Steele.  Her character may be blunt and occasionally obnoxious, but through the writing and her performance, Katie comes across as a true to life and lovable depiction.  Besides, Miller and Graynor, Justin Long is absolutely hilarious as their mutual friend, the flamboyantly gay Jesse.  His portrayal is a tad caricaturesque, but never goes way over-the-top.  He and Graynor had me laughing the most.  The movie also features supporting cast members and cameos which include James Wolk, Mimi Rogers, Don MacManus, Mark Webber, Nia Vardalos and Lauren Miller’s husband, Seth Rogen.

So it should already go without saying that I have nothing, but high praise for this film.  I would love to see Lauren Miller and Katie Anne Naylon receive accolades for their script and I’d especially hope that Miller, Graynor and Long receive nominations for their acting.  I can easily see them winning some Golden Globes in the comedy categories next year.  Because I fear that this movie will be unfairly ignored, I must highly encourage people to go see it and pay full price.  That is, if they can handle the explicit content.  Gems like this don’t come around that often and it’s always a shame when they are missed in the theater.

 

 

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