There’s been some decent buzz surrounding the new raunchy comedy For a Good Time, Call… since it played at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. In a third entry of what I didn’t see at Sundance this year, now we can all share in the hilarity as two frenemies decide to go into business together and start up a phone sex hotline. Director Jamie Travis makes an assured debut working with a screenplay by star Lauren Miller (aka Mrs. Seth Rogen) and Katie Anne Naylon.
Lauren Powell (Miller) is in a long-term relationship with Charlie (James Wolk) but he has decided they need a break because they’re boring together. He is taking off to Italy for the summer to work and wants to use this as a way to evaluate things. This means that Lauren needs to find a place to live. Katie Steele (Ari Graynor) lives in her deceased Bubby’s apartment overlooking Gramercy Park and has just been reminded that the apartment is no longer rent controlled and she has four days to find a roommate to split the rent. Lauren and Katie are both friends with Jesse (Justin Long) who introduced them 10 years ago when he talked Lauren into designated driving Katie home which lead to Lauren doused with Katie’s urine and hating each other ever since.
Jesse knows about both situations and tricks Lauren into moving in with Katie. Lauren meanwhile gets fired from her job as her boss retires and doesn’t get her dream job when she finds out the position was filled hours before her interview. Lauren also notices strange sexual noises coming from Katie’s bedroom at night but she won’t kiss and tell. Eventually, Lauren finds out that Katie works at a nail salon but those strange noises were part of her night job working for a phone-sex hotline. Lauren comes up with a way to better both their situations by installing their own phone line, setting up a PayPal account, and taking the bull by the horns. There’s real money involved, even if a lot of it comes from Katie’s nightly 10:00 from Sean (Mark Webber). The two of whom get a surprisingly heartfelt subplot of their own.
Rom-com clichés are turned on their heads as the two girls figure out their personal and professional lives as hilarity ensues. For a first-time director, Travis sure knows when to keep a scene short and when to drag it out for as funny a punchline as possible. Miller makes for one of the best female comedic leads since Kristen Wiig accidentally food poisoned her fellow Bridesmaids and Lena Dunham unleashed Girls. And I am happy to say that I am finally a fan of Ari Graynor. She gives a comedic tour de force reminiscent of anything Better Midler was capable of back in her heyday. This is a case of a true second cumming, err… coming. It wouldn’t surprise me if they ever wound up being cast as mother/daughter in something and so long as it was dashed with an R-rating to keep things saucy, it would be a comedic match made in heaven. Speaking of which, so are Miller and Graynor here. One thing is for certain, For a Good Time, Call… this movie.
Photos courtesy Focus Features