The success of Bridesmaids has opened the doors again for more girl-centric comedies. I say “again” because we all remember those 1980s flicks that star Molly Ringwald and others that did very well and were part of growing up in the 1980s. Nowadays there are more bromance comedies and just plain gross out bad comedies that focus on appealing to the male audience members. I am not saying that us girls do not enjoy these films a little, but they become redundant and not funny after a while. It is the same thing over and over again. Where are the comedies written for us?
For a Good Time, Call . . . (FGTC) is one of the first films since Bridesmaids to go after the same audience. It is a comedy and has females as leads. However, the comparisons stop there. FGTC’s screenplay was written by two girls who are also friends with a little phone sex experience, Lauren Miller and Katie Anne Naylon. This makes the film a tad autobiographical. The two main characters are Lauren and Katie. Lauren Miller plays Lauren, who essentially is a version of herself. Ari Graynor plays Katie, the one with the phone sex gig already. Jamie Travis directed the film as his feature film debut. This film was made on a small budget in a very small time frame. Yet after the film screened at Sundance in 2012, Focus Features picked it up and that is why audiences now have a chance to see it.
FGTC has only a handful of characters, and only two main characters, Lauren and Katie. Lauren moves into Katie’s great apartment after Lauren’s boring boyfriend leaves her. This all happens at the behest of Jesse (Justin Long), the girls’ super funny gay friend. Katie and Lauren are not friends initially because they had a gross encounter in a car in college that did not make Lauren have any warm feelings toward Katie. With money tight for both, the living arrangement has to work. Lauren soon finds out that Katie makes her money working for a phone sex line. Lauren eventually comes up with the idea for the girls to start their own phone sex line and cut out the middle man. Hilarity ensues and so does a little embarrassment on Lauren’s part.
Both Ari Graynor and Lauren Miller are brilliant and funny. Ari’s Katie is live out loud, in your face, and not ashamed of anything she does. She is game for anything that comes her way. She’s that girl that you wish you could be, but may grind on you after hanging out with her too much. She also has a fabulous wardrobe throughout the film. Lauren’s Lauren is reserved, reluctant, and maybe a little shy. She is focused on her career and feels complete with a man in her life. All this changes when she moves in with Katie. She becomes a successful businesswoman, albeit not with a socially acceptable business, and becomes more confident in herself.
Justin Long as Jesse pretty much has the audience laughing the entire time he is on screen. Our very first glimpse of him walking down the street, talking on the phone, in a shirt and rolled up boyfriend jeans, had me laughing instantly. He is Katie and Lauren’s link. He doles out the advice and encourages them to work things out. Justin Long modeled his character on director Jamie Travis, and after meeting Jamie Travis, I would say his interpretation is pretty good.
The phone sex line part of the film is what gets the most laughs. The noises, sounds, props, and words used as well as the callers themselves all provide for some interesting and funny scenes. There are a couple of cameos from well-known actors that pose as callers. Katie develops a relationship with one of her callers. While I find this unrealistic, much like Pretty Woman without the money, it does reveal her vulnerability and insecurities when she begins dating Sean (Mark Webber).
FGTC does have a fair share of gross out scenes, but unlike those other comedies, these scenes evoked more of loud reaction from the men in the audience at my screening. I snickered at these scenes, but these men did not deal well with these girls being gross, especially when it has to do with lady parts. The “Oh god” and “Ohhhh No” coming from these manly men is a first for me. The tables have turned, my friends. I am curious if every screening that has a healthy share of men in attendance will have the same thing happen.
I can only say good things about FGTC. I found it to be original with great performances by Lauren Miller and Ari Graynor. This is a great comedy that is female-centric, but has something for both sexes. It may have been made on a limited budget, but it is not seen in how this film is put together. Because of its independent film roots, it is more truthful and detailed in terms of the characters and the acting. Had this been a major studio film, I can see it being made to look great with more sets and locations, but losing that honesty and focus, glossing over what makes this film so good. This is what a good comedy film should be, regardless of whether it is more for a female audience or not.
I give For a Good Time, Call . . . 4 “pink phones” out of 5.
by Sarah Ksiazek