For a Good Time Call …
Directed by Jamie Travis. Starring Ari Graynor, Lauren Miller, Justin Long, Mark Webber, James Wolk, Nia Vardalos, Mimi Rogers, Don McManus. (2012, R, 86 min.)
REVIEWED By Kimberley Jones, Fri., Sept. 7, 2012
This was inevitable: The Apatowian bromance – the dominant trend in comedy for the past five years – has found its reverse-gender equivalent. But this new comedy isn’t coy like those embedded homoeroticisms of yesteryear (okay, the late Aughts): If For a Good Time, Call … got drunk and tatted one night, the fresh ink would read “Girl (Crush) Power.”
Lauren Miller, who co-wrote the script with Katie Anne Naylon, plays Lauren, a strait-laced, high-achieving big blah. When her boyfriend (Wolk) – a subzero to her personality zilch – kicks her out, Lauren reluctantly moves in with her college nemesis Katie (Graynor), who pays the rent as a for-hire phone-sex operator. With entrepreneurial zest, Lauren convinces Katie to start their own independent shop together pleasuring gentleman callers. Business booms, and a platonic love blooms that uses the same language, ups and downs, and lovestruck declarations as a rom-com.
For a Good Time, Call … is equal parts sweet and sailor-mouth-sweary (“I just phone-fucked the shit out of our tax attorney”). While its heart is always in the right place, the humor – especially in the sludgy first act – is hit or miss. But as Graynor’s role expands (and Miller’s uninspiring straight man recedes), the film finds a foothold – and a star. Graynor has delivered reliable comedic backup before, stealing the show in Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist and the otherwise dreckful What’s Your Number?. Here, she’s second to no one: rowdy, raring to go, as at home with vulnerability as she is with coltish vulgarity. She’s dynamite stuff, and one hopes she soon finds material as good as she is.