Susan Granger’s review of “For a Good Time, Call…” (Focus Features)
If you’re looking for a raunchy, contemporary female relationship comedy, dial this number.
When uptight Lauren Powell (Lauren Anne Miller) loses her publishing job and is dumped by her priggish boyfriend, Charlie (James Wolk), she needs a new place to live – and in New York City, that’s not easy. So her gay real estate broker buddy Jesse (Justin Long) fixes her up with his friend Katie Steele (Ari Graynor), not realizing that – years earlier – Lauren endured a disastrous encounter with Katie. Nevertheless, mousy Lauren moves into the spacious Gramercy Park apartment that Katie inherited from her grandmother, only to learn that bawdy, uninhibited, foul-mouthed Katie earns her living as a phone-sex operator. Initially horrified, Lauren soon realizes that fielding calls from horny men, talking dirty and vicariously fulfilling their pornographic fantasies is more monetarily lucrative than any job she can land. So Lauren convinces Katie to set up her own, independent phone-sex business which she will manage. What follows for the ‘frenemies’ is formulaic yet amusing, particularly when they team up for a sexy television commercial filmed in a bubble-bath.
Scripted by former Florida State University roommates Katie Anne Naylon and Lauren Anne Miller, it’s based on Naylon’s experience running the phone-sex line 1-866-FSU-TITS. When her student loans weren’t enough to cover her expenses during her freshman year, she chose that job over something most prosaic, like working in the campus bookstore. After all, Whoopi Goldberg once went that route and has said of her phone stint: “You have to be a good actor.”
Making his feature film debut, director Jamie Travis has assembled an ingratiating, talented cast, headed by talented comediennes Lauren Anne Miller and Ari Graynor. They make the predictably R-rated comedic concept rise above its low-budget, sit-com roots, interacting with their clients: Mark Webber, Ken Marino, Kevin Smith, and Seth Rogen, who is Miller’s real-life husband.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “For a Good Time, Call…” is a smutty, salacious 7, appealing to the libidinous “Sex and the City” and “Bridesmaids” crowd.