Before 2011’s “Bridesmaids” completely obliterated the notion that men are automatically funnier than women and bro-comedies can be more lucrative at the box office, you rarely saw a women-based film that wasn’t a drama or romantic comedy.
Since then, a liberation of women in films has been occurring and the progress is spreading far and fast. We are now seeing movie studios having the confidence in their writers and actresses to be able to carry a film on their own and that is very apparent with the release of a risqué comedy “For a Good Time, Call…” by Focus Features.
The film was written by one of the stars of the film, Lauren Miller, and her real-life college roommate, Katie Anne Naylon, whose experiences as a phone sex operator are the basic for the idea behind the movie.
Lauren Powell (Miller) is a girl going places, but her life begins to fall apart when her boyfriend Charlie (James Wolk) breaks up with her and leaves her needing a new place to live. Her gay best friend, Jesse (Justin Long), has the brilliant idea to hook her up with another friend of his, Katie, who needs a roommate to help pay the inflating rent costs. When Lauren shows up to meet her, it turns out that she already knows Katie (Ari Graynor) and had a horrific run-in with her in college.
Although enemies, the two girls begrudgingly agree to live together but things aren’t exactly copasetic as they immediately bump heads in the way they live their daily lives. Lauren learns that her oddball new roomie moonlights as a phone sex operator in her spare time, and when Lauren loses her job and can’t seem to find a new one, she agrees to join Katie as a business manager to help her make the business more lucrative.
Nearly overnight, the money comes pouring in and everything seems to be going great, but what happens when Lauren’s conservative parents — played by Mimi Rogers and Don McManus — decide to drop by for a surprise visit? Will they learn their daughter’s new occupation and can the newly-formed friendship between Katie and Lauren possibly last through the stresses of being in business together?
“For a Good Time Call…” is a comedy about unlikely friends who find common ground through a bizarre situation. While we see them as typical stereotypes that are destined to clash, there is more to either of them then you first expect. While the comedy is dark and very sexual in nature, the comedy is nowhere near as raunchy or funny as what we saw in “Bridesmaids.” I did laugh, but the story more revolves around the clients who call in and the bizarre way the girls talk to these men. Much of the fun of the film comes through the cameos made by some wonderfully funny actors who call in as the clients and also through the bond the girls make after discovering what they like about each other.
This is a truly bizarre film that showcases the bonds forged through friendship in difficult situations — albeit this being an extreme version — and how the girls become more of themselves and learn to let go of the notions they think they need to show to the world. They are two halves of a whole and they need each other to uncover and admit things they never could have otherwise.
Yes, this concept is quite literally something you would only see in an independently-made film, but it is worthy of being made nonetheless. Parts of the dialogue could have been more genuine, but overall the film succeeds in the task of being entertaining and showing off the charm and charisma of its two leading ladies. The look of the film uses a female’s fantasies about romance and relationships to connect with women, while also promoting a very current and zesty attitude towards sex and how it is portrayed in film. The movie has an enjoyable soundtrack and just an overall boisterous tone to it.
While the subject and jokes aren’t for everyone, there is something in the film for everyone to enjoy. While most will see this as a rental, there are those who will enjoy seeing this comedy on the big screen.
“For a Good Time, Call…” is in limited release now and will open in theaters nationwide Sept. 7. It’s rated R for strong sexual content throughout, language and some drug use. The film also stars Nia Vardalos, Mark Webber, Lawrence Mandley and Sugar Lyn Beard.
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