Wednesday, September 12, 2012

For a Good Time, Call...(2012) - Movie Review

When we first meet Lauren and Katie, both are going through their own personal crises.  Lauren's boyfriend breaks up with her as he takes a job in Italy, citing that their relationship had become boring.  Katie's in danger of losing her apartment unless she can get a roommate in just a few days.  They are put together by a mutual friend, but there's a big problem:  These two met back in college and don't like each other.  Also, they are polar opposites as far as personality.  Both are desperate though, so they give it a shot.

After a short time, Lauren (Lauren Miller) finds that one of Katie's (Ari Graynor) many odd jobs is talking on a phone sex line.  Lauren disapproves, but notes that Katie can make a lot more money if she sets up her own line.  As Lauren is recently out of work, she agrees to help with the business side of things.  Their friendship grows over time, and eventually, Lauren loosens up enough to talk on the phone sex line herself.

It's interesting I watched this and Bachelorette (should have the review up for that one later) back to back as they are both female-driven raunchy comedies written by women.  The difference with For a Good Time, Call... is that while it's a raunchy comedy, it's done without over-relying on visuals, where Bachelorette's humor felt more blunt and obvious.  I never really felt like For a Good Time, Call... went over the line as far as being vulgar.  The movie is as much about about these two becoming best friends and learning more about themselves, than it is about what they do to make money.  That friendship is what keeps you watching.  It would have been easy for them to rely strictly on sex jokes, and not develop their friendship and personalities, but fortunately we get something that has more substance than that.

Lauren Miller co-wrote this with Katie Anne Naylon, and it's based on their own college experiences.  This fact just makes me wish I had known them back in college.  I'm sure they were a lot of fun.  I also just read that she's the real-life wife of Seth Rogen, who has a small cameo in the film.  Seth is a lucky man.   As far as their script, my only real issue is that it's a little too predictable at times, especially with the conclusion, but the strength is the realistic dialog and characters.  As the conservative and reserved one, Lauren is playing the 'straight man', but I think was vulnerable and sexy in her own way.  Miller said she specifically wrote the role of Katie for Ari Graynor.  Perpetual indie movie best friend up until this point, Graynor finally gets a chance at a leading role and she makes the most of it.  She's plays the role with the perfect combination of sassy, sexy and funny.  I really can't see too many other young actresses pulling the role off as well as Graynor did.  You should expect bigger things for both of these two going forward.

Scene stealer, Justin Long, is great as their gay best friend.  He's not quite as over-the-top as he was in Zack and Miri Make a Porno though.  Ironically, Kevin Smith also has a cameo appearance in this, while Lauren Miller had a small role in Smith's film, so talk about making good use of your friends.  Anyway, Justin Long continues to be a go-to guy for funny supporting roles, and has become one of my favorite, underrated actors.

First time feature director (always seems to be a theme with late summer and indie films) Jamie Travis gets good performances out of his cast and everyone remains likable.  It's always nice when you watch a movie and you can see yourself hanging out with these people.  As the movie takes place over a few months, the friendship felt natural and wasn't rushed.  This was impressive to me, as the movie runs just 86 minutes.  They use their time well.

For a Good Time, Call... is a predictable film, but it's not without it's charms.  It's a funny look at friendship and carried by the strength of the performances.  It's not a perfect film, but it's exactly what the title says, a good time.  That's all I ask with any comedy.  This is a great matinee and something to get a few friends together to watch.

3.5 (out of 5) Death Stars


  1. Graynor stole the whole show in this movie and definitely deserves to get bigger roles after this. She definitely makes the movie a lot better, even if it does have some of it’s charm to it as well. Good review Erik.

    1. Thanks, Dan! Before this movie, I had never really thought of Graynor as much more than a supporting player, but I think she showed she can carry a film and is someone to watch for.