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SUNDANCE REVIEW | 'For A Good Time Call...' Is a Phone-Sex Fantasy for Young Adults

Photo of Eric Kohn By Eric Kohn | Indiewire January 24, 2012 at 8:16PM

SUNDANCE REVIEW | 'For A Good Time Call...' Is a Phone-Sex Fantasy for Young Adults
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Focus Features Lauren Miller in "For A Good Time, Call..."

A jubilant celebration of raunchiness, "For a Good Time Call..." maintains the giddiness of a classic Doris Day sex comedy with all the suggestive dialogue transformed into the real deal. If it's as bubbly and forgettable as its precedents, "For a Good Time Call…" also shares their carefree attitude toward situational comedy. Built around snarky one-liners it's alternately grating and hilarious, often for the same reasons.

A story about phone sex could go a number of ways, but this one uses it as a backdrop for exploring the plight of two women enduring young adulthood. While littered with vulgarities, it shows a lot less than it tells. In that regard, watching "For a Good Time Call…" isn't just about phone sex operators; it translates phone sex to movie form by teasing the promise of a clever adult comedy without reaching a point of climactic satisfaction.

That said, it's easy to give into its charms. Director Jamie Travis, a celebrated shorts filmmaker, makes his feature-length debut from a screenplay co-written by Lauren Miller and Katie Anne Naylon best described as a naughty chick flick. Miller, perhaps best known until now as Seth Rogen's girlfriend, displays an enjoyable blend of caustic wit and emotional fragility in the lead role in which she uses her real name. Dumped by her workaholic boyfriend after he determines that they're boring, Lauren finds a place to stay through the help of her flamboyant gay pal (Justin Long, outside his safety zone but competent enough). When he sets her up with the rambunctious Katie (Ari Graynor), a woman Lauren has hated since an ill-fated party incident back in college, the stage is set for a roommates-from-hell scenario.

As it turns out, Katie fills the gaps in Lauren's personal and professional life. After discovering that she makes a living by whispering to horny males all day long, Lauren gives up trying to land a boring assistant gig and becomes Katie's work-at-home business partner, a feat that eventually leads her to get into the game herself. The bulk of the story involves their burgeoning success while leaving other issues by the wayside. Lauren dodges her suspicious parents; Katie hesitates to make any strides with a real relationship, despite the harmless advances of a regular caller (Mark Webber).

It's initially difficult to accept the movie's dirty teeny-bopper sensibilities, but the humor grows hard to resist.


Initially it's difficult to accept the movie's dirty teeny-bopper sensibilities, but the humor grows hard to resist. "For a Good Time Call…" lacks a strong narrative but doesn't really need it, settling for finding the easiest pathway from one joke to the next. Most of these involve the duo's relationships with their various clients (including Rogen and Kevin Smith, who cameo in two of the funniest bits).

There's a growing sense of self-awareness to the screenplay accentuated by Travis' competent direction. "For a Good Time Call…" lacks any serious investment in its characters, but delights in the premise enough to elevate the happy-go-lucky progression to pure fantasy. As a friend tells the women, the phone sex business reflects "some fucked-up version of the American dream," and it's one from which the movie never truly wakes up.

Criticwire grade: B

HOW WILL IT PLAY? An unlikely purchase for Focus Features at Sundance, "For a Good Time Call…" has the potential to tap into an oft-overlooked moviegoing demographic: Young adult women. Marketed well, it has the potential to become a mid-sized commercial hit.

This article is related to: Sundance Film Festival, Sundance 2012 Reviews, For A Good Time, Call...





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