For a Good Time, Call… tells the story of Lauren and Katie (played by Ari Graynor and Lauren Miller); two young and beautiful New Yorkers that have simultaneously fallen upon hard times. Conservative Lauren’s relationship with boring and vapid yet financially successful Charlie falls apart, as does her comfortable living situation. Wild-child Katie’s apartment is no longer rent controlled and now she has to come up with more money than she has in order to keep her place. Thankfully, fate steps in and saves them both in the form of flamboyantly gay and meddlesome Jesse (played by Liberace via Justin Long), the mutual friend who hooks the two damsels in distress together. But what about the money to pay for the place? The industrious girls put their heads together and come up with the idea of becoming the joint proprietors and employees of their own phone sex line.
The movie trundles along trajectories set forth by the “chick flick” template and if you’ve seen movies in this genre, then you’re no doubt familiar with the markings: an oddly omniscient and gay best friend, a scene in a nail salon, copious amounts of wine, neanderthal-like ex-boyfriends, the procurement of large (and designer labeled) purses, montages, spanx, sensitive and ideal mates that are obscured by rough exteriors and general social awkwardness…I assure you, there is a list and it’s very specific to this kind of movie. All of this is fine, executed with great aplomb and effectiveness in showing the generation of the relationship between the two unwilling room mates as well as each of their individual growth spurts as people. The problem is in this one, central detail: They start a phone sex line and the money starts rolling in because, apparently, in this weird, dystopian version of New York City life, there’s no such thing as the internet and lonely people are happy to pay $4.99 a minute to hear a woman talk dirty to them over the phone. Also worth pointing out: not only is there an old timey plug-into-the-wall telephone with the curly wire in the movie, there’s TWO of those obsolete and anachronistic things in there.
Judging from the reactions of my female companions, the movie was a fair watch, worth the invested time. There are some funny bits in the movie to be sure, but taken as a whole, without the gender biased eyes, the whole thing lacks the humor and gloss of a memorable comedy. The funniest parts are the cameos in the movie, made less funny by the fact that they’re all masturbating when you see them. Watching this movie, I couldn’t help but wonder if this truly is the female equivalent of a guy-centric buddy flick. Part of me hopes it isn’t.
For a Good Time, Call… opens today at the Ritz East.