Review: 'Good Time' provides exactly that
This film image released by Focus Features shows Lauren Miller as Lauren, left, and Ari Graynor as Katie in a scene from "For A Good Time, Call." (AP Photo/Focus Features, Ryder Sloane)
The whole point of calling a phone-sex line is that you know what you're getting, right? You pick up the phone, pay your money and partake in some, um, self-satisfaction. It's a sure thing. Everyone hangs up happy.
With the comedy "For a Good Time, Call ...," you only think you know what you're getting. It looks like total formula and — for a little while, at least — feels like it, with its broad types who are complete opposites getting thrown together in a contrived, high-concept situation: operating a phone-sex business out of a Manhattan apartment they're forced to share.
But the actresses playing the two lead characters — Ari Graynor and Lauren Anne Miller — have such a light and lovely chemistry with each other, and director Jamie Travis keeps things moving so briskly, you find yourself not minding how by-the-numbers the story is. And then within that by-the-numbers story, there end up being enough surprises and subversive twists that you find yourself unexpectedly charmed.
This film image released by Focus Features shows Ari Graynor in a scene from "For A Good Time, Call." (AP Photo/Focus Features)
Miller co-wrote "For a Good Time, Call ..." with her college roommate, Katie Anne Naylon, who really did run a phone-sex line out of her dorm room because she needed the cash. Comparisons to last year's hugely successful "Bridesmaids" are inevitable, given that it features women saying and doing the sort of raunchy things that previously had been the staples of Judd Apatow's bro-centric oeuvre. They actually finished their script before "Bridesmaids" had even been shot, but the two films do share a wonderfully honest exploration of close female friendship, and how discovering another woman who truly "gets" you can carry all the thrills of falling in love.
Graynor and Miller's characters are miles apart emotionally, though, at the film's start. Graynor's Katie is a brassy party girl with a wardrobe full of animal prints and a stripper pole in the middle of her living room who pays the bills through random jobs. Miller's Lauren is conservative and precise, all headbands and innocent nighties, a young woman of privilege who had her entire life mapped out — including, she thought, marriage to her longtime boyfriend, Charlie (James Wolk).