Considered as a whole, For a Good Time, Call is not a great movie. But taking into account how easily its premise could have turned disastrous makes it a more worthy achievement.
Therefore, credit is due the creative team behind this phone-sex comedy that’s both legitimately funny and surprisingly sweet.
The subject matter dictates the inclusion of a certain degree of low-brow humor, but the film smartly avoids sorority house predictability and instead turns into a character-based comedy that places its characters in silly and desperate circumstances.
The movie starts with an Odd Couple scenario, in which straitlaced Lauren (Lauren Miller) is prompted by a mutual friend (Justin Long) to take free-spirited Katie (Ari Graynor) as a roommate in a Manhattan apartment while both are struggling financially. They must set aside past differences to make it work, but find common ground when Lauren discovers that Katie has been working as a phone-sex operator to earn some extra cash.
Sensing a lucrative opportunity, the duo combines Lauren’s business sense with Katie’s knack for heavy breathing to launch their own phone-sex line. While the audience tries to figure out if the pair is dirty or merely opportunistic, the business threatens to derail the renewed friendship between the ladies.
Perhaps the makers of For a Good Time, Call can thank Bridesmaids for opening the door for this sort of raunchy chick flick. With envelope-pushing, male-bonding comedies almost a dime a dozen these days, it’s somewhat refreshing to let the women have their turn.
The low-budget film was made in 16 days, and technically it’s rough around the edges. It marks the feature debut of director Jamie Travis, who has made several acclaimed short films. The screenplay was written by Miller and Katie Anne Naylon, upon whose real-life experiences the film is loosely based.
The thin but amusing concept is bolstered by the performances of its two spunky protagonists, who help to elevate a sitcom-style script that sometimes feels mechanical and contrived. It’s a good showcase for both leads, especially Graynor (Celeste and Jesse Forever), who resembles a young Sandra Bullock in appearance. A couple of surprise caller cameos also keep things interesting.
For a Good Time, Call manages to be consistently crude and heartfelt, with several broad yet hearty laughs along the way.
Rated R, 86 minutes.