For a Good Time, Call is as raunchy and inappropriate as they come, and it's one of the best comedies of the year, that is if you can stomach it.
The life on an independent film is a dance to be sure. Normally off-the-grid and filled with people you've never heard of, independent films tend to push the boundaries because their tone is not meant for everyone. Hollywood likes them because they can afford to take small risks without alienating their core family audiences; should the film actually do well, Hollywood files it as another investment well made and continues to support them. Stuck somewhere in the gutter of that street which Hollywood has created is the hilarious For a Good Time, Call, a film about phone sex, love, and the obsession some have for the 1-900 prefix.
When the sexually uptight Lauren Powell (Lauren Miller, Superbad) gets dumped and kicked out by her lawyer boyfriend, she must form an uneasy relationship with her college enemy, the party girl Katie Steele (Ari Graynor, Mystic River), who herself cannot pay for her Gramercy Park apartment rent without a roommate. Powell and Steele have a mutual friend in the homosexual comedian Jesse (Justin Long, Live Free or Die Hard), who sees an opportunity for the girls to mend old wounds by rooming together. What Jesse and Lauren don't know is that Katie's moonlighting as a phone sex operator; but when Lauren loses her job, the two decide to enter the business together, with Katie providing the moans and Lauren managing the profits. As the business takes off, their affection for each other grows until Lauren decides "I don't want to be boring anymore," and enters a threesome chat with Katie and airline pilot Jerry (Seth Rogen, Knocked Up). Soon, Lauren's sexuality comes alive, and she must decide whether her old goals of boring job and hyper-controlling family are more important than her blossoming career and relationship with Katie.
Filled with every gimmick that a phone-sex movie should have, one would think Call would descend into a predictably raunchy comedy, and for the most part we're witnesses to that. But it's also a good movie about relationships that rewards the viewer for sticking with it. In many ways, our female leads make you like them with their air-headed nature and good looks. They're not the best actors, but Graynor and co-writer Miller sure have fun trapezing through the script. Although Director Jamie Travis' previous work was in documentaries and shorts, he's smart to allow the girls and Long to explore their serious sides while keeping the laughs rolling. And laugh you will, from the sex toys, the Christian operator Krissy (Sugar Lyn Beard, 50./50), and the other gags which should keep the audience in stitches. Had Travis made a few casting upgrades, there would have been little to stop Call from beating out my favorite comedy of 2012, Ted.
Call is one of those independent films that could get swept under the rug, based entirely on its topic. It's not for the faint of heart, and will probably infuriate entire demographics of our society with its raunchy sexual tone, but that shouldn't keep you from seeing it. The performances aren't perfect, and there's a lack of casting depth that's seen a mile away But, audiences can be very forgiving when the jokes cause as much laughter as they did for me. And if you know me, that's saying a lot. For a Good Time, Call is rated R for almost everything except nudity and has a runtime of 85 minutes.
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