Cinema Review – For A Good Time Call…

Lauren (Lauren Anne Miller) and Katie (Ari Graynor) are long standing frenemies, but when a beautiful apartment is at stake, they put their issues behind them. It is not long before the two realise that they can make a lot of money running a phone sex line…

It could be just me, but I thought that phone sex lines were a thing of the past now that we have the internet and all… No? OK, well aside from the fact that I am living under a rock (seemingly), the idea of For A Good Time Call… is a fun one, but it is hard to shake the notion that a little too much focus is given to the actual friendship between the two girls, and too little is given to how they get there.

Co-writer Lauren Anne Miller stars as the more uptight of the duo, and she does a fine job as Lauren. While it does feel as though she is playing a watered down version of Charlotte from Sex and the City for the first half of the film, once the character begins to open up, she moves into her own. Ari Graynor is fantastic as the brash and carefree Katie, but as Lauren opens up, we learn of a vulnerability to Katie that also makes her rather sweet. The lead women are charismatic and have great chemistry, and once the story really kicks into high gear, it is clear that they are having fun with the characters.

Justin Long plays the (gay) man who brings the two girls together and, again, he obviously has a lot of fun being over the top and ‘fabulous’. The character works, but thankfully there is not too much of him in the film as there is a fine line between entertaining and irritating. Kevin Smith and Seth Rogen (Lauren Anne Miller’s husband) make appearances as clients of the sex line, and they bring some much needed comedy to the film.

Yes, I said ‘much needed comedy’. The trailer certainly makes the film out to be a dark comedy, but while there are some fantastic one liners – which I am not going to repeat here – overall, the film feels as though it had the scope to be a lot funnier. As well as this, the girls start off hating one another, but very quickly move into the territory of friends, almost too quickly… Yes, I know this is a film that needs to get moving in order for it to work, but one conversation between Lauren and Katie could easily have solved this issue.

The film comes from a first time writer and a relatively unknown director, so it is easy to pick holes, but there are some great moments that redeem the film. The raunchy, silly humour, when it happens, works incredibly well, and the script writers actually throw a couple of story elements that will surprise audiences, but not necessarily shock them.

While it may feel as though For A Good Time Call… is riding the wave caused by Bridesmaids, this film is arguably funnier and more subtle, with a stronger message about female empowerment. Yes, the phone sex line feels a little anachronistic, but Graynor and Miller help you forget your worries through their charming performances. It is just a shame that a lot of the jokes did not land as well as they could have, and while the story is not offensive or cheap, it ends up feeling twee. That said, For A Good Time Call… is more nuanced than Zack and Miri Make a Porno, and funnier than Bridesmaids, which is no mean feat.

Rating: 3/5

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