In case there was any question, you should not take your kids to see For A Good Time Call. It’s a movie about two girls who start up their own phone sex hotline and the hilarious hijinks that ensue. For that matter, don’t watch it with your parents—because then you’ll be free to laugh at the raunchy, filthy, dirty things that are said in the second half of this movie. In fact, if you skip the first 30 minutes you’ll miss nothing but prosaic sitcom setups of an odd couple forced by absurd circumstances to move in together. Once it gets going, however—when Kevin Smith shows up—the movie takes a turn for the hilarious and winds up being a fun little flick.
Lauren Miller wrote and stars in For A Good Time Call, along with Ari Graynor (Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist) in this tale of female friendship and succeeding in a tough economy. There’s little remarkable about the script, which is pedestrian and predictable; punched up with enough pop culture references and absurd sexual situations to keep it from being too boring during the overlong opening. The plotting is timelessly simple with a raunchy, dirty (but not sexy) twist.
The dialogue works, despite its stilted and unnatural cadence, because the actors deliver it without a hint of irony. Deconstructionist in its intention, the characters in this movie point out and critique the audience’s expectations for a normal cinematic romance. Nobody in this movie is “normal” and that’s why they are so relatable.
The best part of this movie is the celebrity cameos, callers to the phone sex line created by the protagonists. Seth Rogan (who is in a relationship with the writer/star Lauren Miller) and Kevin Smith are among the stars who do things that would undoubtedly make their mothers turn away in shame and the flick is better for their performance.
As for the featured performers, Ari Graynor absolutely owns this movie with a brash persona covering her vulnerable, insecure core. Writer Lauren Miller, however, is completely forgettable and bland, never giving the sense that she’s anything more than a pretty face.
Pacing is this movie's biggest flaw. It takes too long to get going and the character's aren't interesting enough to justify the meandering opening. That falls onto the director, who should be applauded for shooting this movie in just 16 days but could have spent some more time shoring up the script. Cutting and revising is hard, though, when the writer also happens to be your star and producer.
There’s a line of dialogue toward the end of the flick that resonated with me. One of the characters described the success of the phone business as “an f***ed up version of the American Dream.” This seems right—hard work and business sense pays off. And it does it in a very hilarious, raunchy way.
Stay away if you’re prudish, maybe wait until home video if you’re cheap but For A Good Time Call is a fun flick.
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