For a Good Time, Call...

© 2012 Ray Wong

There is just something endearing and funny about raunchy chick flicks that tickles me. While not as well-conceived as last year's The Bridesmaids, For a Good Time, Call is a good alternative to the serious or testosterone-laden Fall movies.

Lauren (Lauren Miller) is a sheltered junior editor living with her handsome boyfriend Charlie (James Wolk) in Manhattan. Then said handsome boyfriend dumps her, because he thinks they are boring. Heartbroken and without a place to live, Lauren is forced to become roommates with Katie (Ari Graynor), a dizzy blonde who is also friends with Lauren's gay best friend Jesse (Justin Long). At first, Lauren and Katie hate each other not only because of an incident that happened a long time ago in college, but also because they are very different people. Not to mention Lauren, a conservative WASP, finds out what Katie really does for a living -- she is a phone sex operator.

Soon, however, Lauren loses her job and must find a way to pay her rent. Lauren decides to work for Katie, helping her to start her own phone sex line. With Katie's experience and Lauren's business savviness and organization, the business takes off. Lauren beings to loosen up, too, and she realizes they can make more money if they have a second operator. After a near-disaster involving a religious right person (Sugar Lyn Beard), Lauren decides she doesn't want to be boring anymore -- she wants to be the second operator.

Lauren Miller (50/50) has the right mix of sweetness and spunk to pull of the more complicated role of Lauren. At first she is all reserved, uptight and timid, but as the story progresses, she unleashes just enough sexy charm and cattiness that fit the character well. But the standout is Ari Graynor (Celeste & Jesse Forever). Her Katie is so endearing, funny, and wild that we can't help but love her. Better yet, Graynor is not just all brash and raunch -- she brings a sweet sensibility and vulnerability to the role that is quite refreshing. Best of all, Miller and Graynor make a great girl-team.

Justin Long (10 Years) has played gay before, so this time he channels the same energy playing Lauren's and Katie's gay best friend. Unfortunately, his is also a stereotypical "gay best friend" role without a lot of substance. It's all superficial. Mimi Rogers (Hope Springs) and Don McManus (Letters from the Big Man) have a great time playing Lauren's uptight, wealthy parents. Sugar Lyn Beard (50/50) is outrageous as Jesus freak Krissy. James Wolk (You Again) and Mark Webber (Save the Date) play Lauren's and Katie's respective beaus -- Wolk is quietly funny as the boring jerk and Webber exerts a nice dorky charm and earnestness.

Notable cameos include Nia Vardalos (Larry Crowne) as a no-nonsense book editor, as well as Kevin Smith, Seth Rogen, and Ken Marino as a trio of Lauren's and Katie's hilarious clients.

Written by star Lauren Miller (Girls! Girls! Girls!) with Katie Anne Naylon, the story no doubt is based on their own friendship (just look at the names of the two lead characters: Lauren and Katie -- enough said). Let's get the obvious out of the way -- the premise, the language, and the plot are rather raunchy, especially when it comes from a female perspective. However, I love the frankness of the material. Perhaps the situations and characters are somewhat on the caricature side, but this is a comedy! What is great about such raunchy chick flicks is that it is at the core still a chick flick -- it is all about the friendship between these two women, and I think they've done a great job exploring that friendship. Despite their differences, Lauren and Katie (the characters, not the writers) are very similar and they complement each other well.

What is weak about the writing are the minor characters and the lack of depth outside of the relationship between the two leads. Strip away that friendship, what we have would be a shallow shell of a story to sell raunchy jokes and antics, and after a while it can get stale. You can only laugh so much at horny, masturbating guys and in a way, there is certain reversed sexism here -- the men are by and large the butt of the jokes. Even the most endearing male characters are a sissy gay man and a socially inapt nerd. The handsome men are jerks and assholes. Are there any normal guys in this story? And I can't help to wonder about the underlying message, that women don't need men after all. Men are more like accessories. More power to women! But as a man, I kind of find it hard to digest at a deeper level.

Then again, we are not supposed to dig too deep. It is a female buddy comedy about sex and friendship. No need to psychoanalyze this to death. As a comedy, it is rather funny. As a girl movie, it's rather sweet and sensible. In that sense, I'd say, for a good time, see or rent this movie.

Stars: Lauren Miller, Ari Graynor, James Wolk, Justin Long, Mimi Rogers, Don McManus, Mark Webber, Nia Vardalos
Director: Jamie Travis
Writers: Lauren Miller, Katie Anne Naylon
Distributor: Focus
MPAA Rating:  R for strong sexual content, language and some drug use
Running Time: 86 minutes 


Script - 7
Performance - 8
Direction - 7
Cinematography - 7
Music/Sound - 7
Editing - 7
Production - 7

Total - 7.2 out of 10.0 

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