Balancing Act: For A Good Time Call . . .

by Sandra Olmsted

Director Jaime Travis film, For A Good Time Call . . ., isn’t for everyone. Penned and produced by Lauren Anne Miller, Katie Anne Naylon, the film goes beyond chick flick with personal details of the female characters lives that even some women may think epitomize “Too much information.”  However, this female buddy film has a quirky humor and an honesty about women’s lives which is rarely seen on the big scene. But the subject will appeal to men also, but for adults only.

When Lauren Powell (played by the film’s cowriter Lauren Anne Miller) discovers that her long time live-in boyfriend, Charlie (James Wolk), suspends their “boring” relationship while working temporarily in Italy, she must find a new living arrangement.  Meanwhile, Katie Steele (Ari Graynor) must find a roommate or loose the apartment she inherited from her grandmother.

Enter Jeese (Justin Long), best friend to both women, with a plan to introduce the two apartment-challenged women.  Unfortunately, the two women have an unpleasant history from their college days and still hate each other.  However, they also have no choice but to be roommates.  Soon, Lauren is horrified to learn that Katie pays her half of the rent by working as a phone sex operator.  When Lauren’s new job gets put on hold for three months, she must either decide to help Katie start her own phone sex company or both of them will he homeless.  While Lauren could move home to her upper crust, prudish parents, Katie has no family and no safety net.

Felix and Oscar have nothing on this odd couple.  Lauren dresses and acts like a conservative, uptight, career women with little time for or interest in the lifestyle of the free-spirited Katie, who doesn’t even know she needs a plan for her future.  As evidenced in the opening of the film, Lauren has a staid sexual relationship with Charlie, but Katie comfortably sounds like a much more daring woman.  The only way trait they share is their deep, abiding, and justified hatred of each other and everything about each other.  Fortunately, the film doesn’t rely on this cultural and personality clash for too long, and more interesting plot twists develop.

There’s certain balance to the script. Even though the film often feels like a series of skits at times, meaning that the story and character develop sometimes suffer, the overriding story reveals Katie and Lauren’s relationship in great detail. The silliness of phone sex  becomes tiresome for women, but there is some balance between,  so there is something for everyone to laugh at.

The jokes are sometimes more predictable groaners than big laughs, but the film has a good-natured, adult humor which will being smiles at the very least.  The female-buddy relationship that these two mortal enemies eventual must either forge or give up on their dreams is the most truthful since Thelma & Louise.

Ari Graynor and Lauren Anne Miller show they have the chops to carry a comedy despite the film’s problems and the film’s narrow appeal. Nia Vardalos has a small role, and there are zany cameos by Kevin Smith and Miller’s husband Seth Rogen as the clients of the phone sex operator.  Watch for other cameos!

A Focus Feature release, For A Good Time Call . . . runs 86 minutes and is rated R for strong sexual content throughout, language, and some drug use.

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