Sunday, 20 July 2014

For A Good Time, Call...

Title: For A Good Time, Call…
Director: Jamie Travis
Released: 2012
Starring: Ari Graynor, Lauren Miller, Justin Long, Sugar Lyn Beard, Mimi Rogers, Nia Vardalos, Mark Webber, James Wolk

Plot: Lauren (Miller) and Katie (Graynor), college frenemies now suddenly forced to live together after Lauren is dumped by her boyfriend and Katie is being forced out of her apartment due to not being able to afford the rent on her own. However the pair soon form an unlikely bond, after Lauren uses her business smarts to help kickstart Kate’s phone sex business.

Review: One of the recent spate of female scripted and fronted comedies to follow in the wake of “Bridesmaids” which honestly is no bad thing especially as this film proves. Say that I think I have to say that this is the first female sex comedy I’ve seen, especially when the usual fodder for these kind of movies tends to be overly horny high schoolers trying to get laid, so needless to say it was kind of refreshing to see a pair of attractive 20-somthings even if it might be lurking a little too close to “Sex and The City” territory. Thankfully though it never fully crosses over that line especially when a fancy apartment and garish pink phone are really as close as they get to that vacuous world. Instead it ends up falling somewhere outside of the mumblecore relm of “Girls” and “Tiny Furniture”.

Written by Miller and her former college roommate Katie Anne Naylon based on their experiences living together, though there is no mention of if they were also running a phone sex line as in the film. Miller here also gets her perfect co-star in Graynor for whom she wrote the part of Katie with her in mind after seeing her in “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist”, Graynor would be cast for the film after receiving a letter from Miller stating why she would be perfect for the part. Unquestionably this would turn out to be a masterstroke as both girls truly embody their roles that you can truly believe them to be best friends.

The film plays like strange combination of “2 Broke Girls” and “The Odd Couple” Lauren and Kate are quickly established even before they have met as pretty much the polar opposite of each other. Lauren fresh from being dumped by her jackass of a boyfriend for being too boring is the business minded and straight edged family girl with dreams of being a writer, while Lauren is the filthy mouthed wild child whose relationship was strained even without their clashing personalities thanks to their original meeting in college which ended in a mishap with a slushie cup of pee.

It is of course far from the most traditional bonding opportunities that the girls finally find their common ground and once on their sex phone venture it could easily have dissolved into an onslaught of innuendo and slutty jokes, but surprisingly it never does. True there is much talk of various naughty acts and an even more questionable reunion scene which really needs to be seen, but instead you frequently find that you are more focused on the growing friendship than the general naughtiness.

Okay since we are on the subject yes you do get to see the girls working the phones as it flicks back and forth between the girls and their various clients, which include a sleazy cabby played by Kevin Smith who seems to think nothing of phoning sex lines and jacking off while he has a fare in the backseat. We also get to find out a possible reason for planes being so frequently delayed when the girls are called to double team as pilot played by Miller’s real life husband Seth Rogen. For both this is familiar territory, especially in the case of Smith who these days seems to take any opportunity to talk about his masturbation activities (when not arguing with airlines and dissing critics) both for such an indie film their cameos are both fun and only add to the film without taking anything away from the leads.

This however now leads me to one main criticism for this film and that is that all their callers are so nice and generally normal. Where are all the sleazy guys? Honestly the sleaziest caller they have is a prison lesbian and most of that is her taking about how she is going to work off her frustrations. The ultimate highlight though has to be Sean (Webber) who Katie has frequently been talking to with their conversations slowly becoming less about sex and more about getting to know each other and leading up to them finally meeting. Needless to say Sean soon turns out also not to be a secret sleaze and instead perfect boyfriend material especially with his adorable nerdish qualities. True its nice to see more Geek Chic guys rather than the guys who typical play the romantic interest, but seriously would it have hurt to have atleast one of two truly sleazy callers.

One of the interesting aspects of female headed comedy (surely there has to be a better name for this genre) is getting to see what women actually find funny and thankfully it seems that it’s not just men are all dicks as the assumption would have lead me to believe and while this is a film about sex phone workers it also a surprisingly sweet film while managing to not sacrifice laughs for Smoltz.

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