Better Than (Phone) Sex?

Lauren Miller as ‘Lauren Powell’ and Ari Graynor as ‘Katie Steele’ in “For a Good Time, Call...”I’ve been seeing copies of For a Good Time, Call… (2012) in supermarket bargain bins for a few weeks now, but didn’t really take much interest until I watched Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, and latched on to Ari Graynor’s name.*

Here she plays ‘Katie Steele’, a brassy, brazen blonde who holds a number of part-time jobs (including working as a phone-sex operator) to maintain the large New York apartment she inherited from her beloved “bubbie” (grandmother). When her landlord hikes up the rent, Katie finds herself in desperate need of a new flatmate, and reluctantly accepts an old college-era enemy into her mothballed sanctuary. Uptight yuppie ‘Lauren Powell’ (played by co-writer Lauren Miller) isn’t particularly thrilled about the arrangement either, but she’s just been dumped by her boyfriend, who’s heading off to Italy on a lengthy business-trip, and simply can’t afford to live by herself. They’re brought together by a mutual friend (a woeful sitcom stereotype of a “gay man” played by Justin Long), and are soon at each other’s throats… then Lauren loses her job and starts to take an interest in Katie’s sexy side-line, first as a business manager, then as a fellow operative… and along the way they bond and fall out and make up again. SPOILER!!!

Lauren Miller as ‘Lauren Powell’ in “For a Good Time, Call...”At its heart, this movie is a platonic rom-com about two straight women learning to love each other… Katie does have a gawky phone-boyfriend (Mark Webber) to bring out of his shell, but he’s really only a secondary character in her life, and he seems to be at peace with that. So, this is exactly the sort of “sisters-before-misters” movie that I wholeheartedly support and wish there were more of… but I don’t think anyone who’s watched this flick would be too surprised to discover that it was the first screenplay that Miller and her writing partner Katie Anne Naylon had ever produced, or that it was shot on an incredibly tight, 16-day schedule. There are plenty rough edges and plot holes, but the two leads deliver such warm and funny performances that by the end of it my ribs felt thoroughly tickled, and my heart had been sufficiently warmed. It is not, by any means, a perfect movie… but is does get an “A” for effort, good intentions, and adorability. I’m actually hugely disappointed that the UK release didn’t include the deleted scenes and DVD commentary track that were on the R1 DVD, because this is definitely the sort of movie where you want to spend more time hanging out with the characters, and the people who play them… especially Graynor, who is now officially one of my fave funny ladies (although that may have something to do with the fact that I see her as a hybrid of Jennifer Tilly and Joey Lauren Adams, both of whom were already on the list).

Ari Graynor as ‘Katie Steele’ in “For a Good Time, Call...”As for the supporting cast: Mimi Rogers plays Lauren’s mother, who has a pesky habit of popping by the flat unannounced… Nia Vardalos plays her prospective new boss at a fancy publishing company (though from the way it was shot, I don’t believe she was ever on set at the same time as Miller)… and Sugar Lyn Beard plays a suspiciously perky new operator, named ‘Krissy’. Meanwhile, Seth Rogen, Kevin Smith, and Ken Marino all put in self-deprecating cameos as phone-sex clients, with one-hand down their respective pants. Ew.

———-

* Fun Freudian slip: Originally I typed “letched” instead of “latched”!

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About deecrowseer

A comic book writer with an interest in feminism, philosophy, and affirmative action.
This entry was posted in Rants about Films and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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