Starring: Lauren Miller, Ari Graynor, Justin Long
Written by: Lauren Miller (“Girls! Girls! Girls!”) and Katie Anne Naylon (debut)
Directed by: Jamie Travis (debut)
In the film “For a Good Time, Call…” reluctant roommates Lauren (Lauren Miller) and Katie (Ari Graynor) share a rocky past that stretches back over a decade to college and includes one of them being doused in the drunken urine of the other. After both of them come to realize they can’t afford to live alone in New York City, mutual friend Jesse (Justin Long, mincing around embarrassingly) facilitates their new living arrangement. After clashing predictably over things like the color of the walls and the placement of a dead grandmother’s belongings, the two forge an unlikely bond when Lauren discovers Katie is a phone sex operator. With Lauren’s business-minded attitude and Katie’s natural talent at talking dirty, a lucrative endeavor is born.
Fans of HBO’s TV series “Girls” might feel a twinge of deja vu in the initial set-up, what with its sexually-frank narrative about 20-something women struggling financially in New York City while pursuing jobs in the publishing industry, etcetera. Pair that with a shaky first act and the audience might end up sighing and checking their collective watches. But when the girls’ phone sex business takes off, so does the movie.
First-time feature director Jamie Travis adds a dash of indie quirk to the “Bridesmaids”-approved formula of girls being raunchy—though he doesn’t avoid the cheese entirely (see: any scene with Justin Long and his dog or the small roles played by Nia Vardalos and Mimi Rogers). Casting relative unknowns like Miller (who also co-wrote) and Graynor lends a freshness to the movie that it often doesn’t earn through the screenplay (seriously, are 900 numbers still a thing?) and some well-placed cameos from lewd-comedy ringers like Kevin Smith and Seth Rogen (Miller’s real-life husband) deliver huge laughs. While the foreplay might be boring and unnecessary for some, “For a Good Time, Call…” will have you glad you stuck around for the climax.