For A Good Time Call – 2012
Directed by Jamie Travis
Starring Ari Graynor, Lauren Miller, Justin Long, Sugar Lyn Beard, Mimi Rogers, Nia Vardolos, Mark Webber, James Wolk, Seth Rogen
Written by Lauren Miller, Katie Anne Naylon
“You know you’re not better than me. You’re not better than phone sex.”
Lauren and Katie are at the end of two different ropes. Lauren (Miller) has been dumped by her “person,” who claimed that they were “boring.” Katie (Graynor) is on the verge of losing her apartment, from which her landlord removed rent control. Their mutual friend, Jessie (Long) brings them together to make ends meet, at least financially, if not personally. They had a brief encounter during their college years which was not so nice. This time around, things start in an Odd Couple fashion, familiar, but not in an obvious manner. Soon enough, Lauren, who is the tight wad of the two, discovers that Katie has been working for a phone sex line. At first she is slightly off-put, incurring the above conversation. Once she loses out on a job, she brings home a pink land line phone as a peace-offering and a business venture opportunity.
The next part of the film goes as well as expected. There is a resounding success in the new business model, as the two acquaintances become friends. The way this develops in a realistic and appealing way. Between all the sex-talk there are moments of genuine tenderness played expertly by Graynor and Miller, giving one the feeling of a visceral friendship. The feelings displayed are genuine and surprisingly touching for the viewer.
The script is written by Lauren and a different Katie (Anne Naylon), based on their common experiences as friends. There are developments in the characters that seem like they have actually been lived. Moves that would usually lead to a dead-end in an average comedy lead to gold here. It is not all kicks and giggles, but it is all an enjoyable experience.
“Are you with me?”
“Mhmm. I’m just stoned.”
There is a point, at the beginning of the last 1/4 of the film, where things take a serious turn. The tension is ratcheted up, but by now, with these characters, one is ready for it. Even though you know there has to be the dreaded false crisis, it is happening in such a natural way we just roll with it and hope for the best. When Lauren says “I love you,” for the second time in the span of the story, we are there, wanting the result to be better this time.
“You make me feel like I will never be good enough for you.”
Given the capacity and limits of the modern comedy, one has little right to expect much in the way of an original ending. What one can hope for is that then ending can have some original twist or dialogue. In this way, everyone has succeeded.
This film is loaded with all sorts of “adult” language. Instead of coming across as juvenile, it presents itself in a humorous and intelligent way. It’s not like wasting 2 hours of your life watching Porky’s. Rather, it’s much closer to, say, The 40 Year Old Virgin. In the end, you feel invested in the story of people you care about, even if it is occasionally beyond your bounds.