“For A Good Time Call”
The premise is actually kind of plausible: two girls who may be unlikely
possibilities as friends (because of a previous negative encounter) wind up
rooming with each other because each needs someone to share expenses with, and
living in New York City is expensive.
The young woman who’s already living at the apartment, Katie (Ari Graynor),
used to have her grandmother there, but her grandmother died. The other girl,
Lauren (Lauren Miller), has just suffered a double blow: her boyfriend broke
up with her (they were living together in his apartment), and she lost her
job. Her prosperous Long Island parents would gladly take her back, but though
loving, they’re also kind of oppressive and insufferable. The two young
women have a mutual friend, Jesse (Justin Long), the token gay guy, who
vouches for both of them, and so at first we have a kind of a female version
of the Odd Couple. Katie is loud and boisterous and “out there,” Lauren is
quiet and reserved and maybe a little snooty.
Then Lauren discovers that Katie’s “real job” is doing nails. And then
finds out that her “other job” is answering a phone sex line. At first,
this causes conflict between them, until Lauren convinces Katie that she’s
not being fairly compensated by the service, and they could set up their own
much more profitably.
At first, Lauren is content to be the Business Manager. But before long, she
is taking calls, as well, and the comic effect is the quiet little shy,
almost-mousey naive girl learning to be….well, brassy. At least over the
In the interest of developing the relationship between the two women (which is
really what this movie is about), somehow they manage to throw many of their
“real” relationships under the bus, because they’re all second fiddle.
Lauren’s parents are dismissed as “judgmental,” and Katie’s parents
are nowhere in evidence, so family connections don’t seem to count for much,
They hire an assistant, once, who sounded like she would work out long enough
to allow the two of them to occasionally take a break, and maybe even go out
to dinner together, but then the assistant, it turns out, was a closet
Christian, who then “evangelized” by telling her callers they were all
going to Hell. So now we’ve thrown Christianity under the bus, also.
The mutual friend, Jesse, is also kind of pushed aside in favor of the young
women themselves deciding they “love” each other (which seems more
emotional than physical, at least for now).
Are we happy that the enterprising women find contentment and self-sufficiency
together? Well, yes, they’re likable and we’re glad they’re doing well.
Do we laugh along the way? Well, yes, although the jokes are definitely of the
risqué variety. But they never really try to be merely erotic with this film:
there’s no nudity, just a lot of talking about sex. And part of the parody
is showing the faces of some of the silly guys on the end of the line (cameo
performances by some famous comic actors), trying to maintain their fantasies,
somehow, though also well aware that the interest on the other end of the line
is somewhere between feigned and phony. Sure, it’s a sad parody of actual
sexuality. But at least nobody’s going to contract any diseases from each
“For A Good Time Call” is definitely not for the prudish, but it’s one
of those new “femcoms” in the “Bridesmaids” realm, whose popularity
indicates that this type of comedy is likely to enjoy a marketable young
female urban audience.
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Minister, St. Stephen’s Presbyterian Church