"For a Good Time, Call" Communicates Fun and Friendship
"For a Good Time, Call" is the result of collaboration between real-life friends Lauren Anne Miller and Katie Anne Naylon. Directed by Jamie Travis, the film is set in Manhattan, known to be one of the most expensive cities to live in. Miller herself plays the character of Lauren Powell, who has just been dumped by her vapid boyfriend Charlie (James Wolk) because she just isn't very exciting. She ends up moving into the apartment of a hated college acquaintance, Katie Steele (Ari Graynor). Katie's grandmother had left her the spacious apartment located in trendy Gramercy Park, but the rent was being raised to an amount that she could no longer afford on her own, hence the need for a roommate. The two young, broke women are brought together by a common best friend, Jesse, played by Justin Long in pink shorts and sporting a thin mustache. Although he is fabulous in his execution, his role feels too much like every other gay film character from the last few years.
Shortly after moving in, Lauren begins to wonder where Katie gets her money. Although she works as a part-time manicurist, there is no way that her salary could pay the bills. Then one night, she hears moans coming from Katie's room and comes to the conclusion that she's running a very amateur phone sex line.
Not happy with just getting by, the pair of women each discovers that they have skills that can be used to run their own phone sex line and turn it into a profitable business. So, 1-900-MMM-HMMM is born. The plot soon develops into what seems like a woman-led version of "Risky Business." The women come to learn that even the nicest girls can learn how to profit from dirty talk. Katie helps the uptight Lauren to chill out and teaches her the ins and outs of good phone sex. Lauren masters taking calls as well as managing the business. The partners even discuss a fancy television advertisement complete with the two of them soaking in a bubble bath. Business booms and a newbie is hired to woman the phones.
Some funny moments occur when Lauren's parents Adele (Mimi Rogers) and Scott (Don McManus) visit the apartment. The looks on their faces when they find adult novelties on their daughter's coffee table invites a good laugh. Additional funny moments come courtesy of cameo appearances by the like of comedy actors Seth Rogen and Kevin Smith, who play the role of customers. The jokes in these scenes are fairly raunchy; one about Spanx comes to mind. There are constant reminders about why this film was given an R rating. Everything stays within the safe zone of comedy though because none of the young ladies ends up talking to any creeps.
The film also takes a somewhat understanding stance on the whole phone sex business by implying that the many of the callers are just lonely, and showing the line operators starting to fall for them. This is strengthened by Katie's decision to meet Sean (Mark Webber) at a bar, where her outgoing, on-the-prowl demeanor is replaced by shyness.
This light film doesn't pretend to be any more than what it is; a romp in the lives of two women that fate unexpectedly brought together in a way that would change their lives and perceptions about female friends, sex, and men. It's a fantasy, driven by the spirit of owning a business and dressed up with a bright wardrobe and a colorful pop music soundtrack. It's easy to just get lost in the fun without analyzing the social details or ramifications too much. After all, not many men or women want to think about talking dirty to an ogre-they are all looking for something beautiful.
The final scene is icing on cake that took a bit to rise to the occasion. It is a well-thought out dirty joke designed to coax smiles from the audience. But mostly it is the two women who make watching this film worthwhile with their surprisingly excellent performances that turns on the fun in what could have been a bland movie about endearing women friendships.