What this sporadically amusing American chat line comedy lacks in credibility it makes up for in charm.
Following the deserved success of Bridesmaids, more racy female-fronted comedies were virtually a given. The question is, will Jamie Travis' For a Good Time, Call… really manage keep the momentum going?
The film details the unlikely business partnership between Lauren (Lauren Miller) and Katie (Ari Gaynor). Lauren is a prim and ambitious publishing editor who lives with her arrogant boyfriend, Charlie (James Wolk). But when the relationship ends, she has to move out. Katie, meanwhile, is provocative and outgoing and has left a bad impression on Lauren at high school by drunkenly bragging about her sexual attractiveness and peeing into a cup while in Lauren’s car, leading, of course, to some unfortunate spillage.
But Katy, also, can no longer afford the raised rent for her inherited apartment and needs a flatmate. So their mutual friend Jesse (Justin Long, who plays gay here rather well, basing his portrayal on the film’s gay director Jamie Travis) brings them together despite their initial reluctance. And when the recently fired Lauren finds out that Katy works on a phone sex line, the pair decided to start their own service.
The performances from Gaynor (with her Bette Midler/Goldie Hawn-esque exuberance) and Miller (good at playing good-girl-gone-bad) create a nice chemistry which keeps the film engaging.
It's more a film about the intensity of female relationships than it is about phone sex. Characters like Katie also work because they have a decent amount of depth; her loud, brassy exterior covers deep-seated insecurity and genuine vulnerability towards relationships and sex. It probably helps that the characters, written by Katie Anne Naylon and lead actress Miller, are based on the writers’ friendship as flatmates and so comes from authentic roots.
But the film falls due to its various sub-plots. A romance between Lauren and one of her callers, Shaun (Mike Webber), feels forced, as it's hard to buy that a good looking, funny and intelligent guy would really find a relationship through a sex line. There's also a gapingly unresolved storyline involving Lauren’s parents. Still on the strength of the female leads, it's a film worth suspending a bit of disbelief for.
Could a comedy about a phone sex line really work after Spike Lee’s dire Girl 6?
It's less about phone sex than it is about offering a wry observation of female relationships.
Has emotional authenticity and a decent laugh quotient, but overall enjoyment is marred by general ridiculous and unresolved sub-plots.