FOR A GOOD TIME, CALL… review by Gary Murray

FOR A GOOD TIME, CALL… review by Gary Murray
Ari Graynor should be one of the most successful young actresses on the planet. She was the driving force behind one of the funniest black comedies in recent memory, Lucky, as well as the object of desire for Jonah Hill in The Sitter. The problem is that few have seen her work since those works didn’t light the box office on fire. That should change with her starring vehicle For a Good Time, Call… The story is of Katie (Ari Graynor) and Lauren (Lauren Anne Miller), two women in different situations. Lauren has been recently been dumped by her live-in boyfriend, a guy who thinks she is boring. He heads off for Italy and she is looking for new digs. Katie lives alone in her grandmother’s rent controlled apartment. Since grandma has recently passed, Katie either needs to find a room-mate or lose her apartment. Jesse (Justin Long) is a friend of both women and makes the suggestion that they move in together. The women knew each other from college and it did not go well. In a flashback, we get the ‘cute meet’ between the two which was not that cute and just a little bit gross. These two women hate each other but agree to try living together for the summer. Soon, complications arise and not the regular complications of living together. The two women are opposites. Where Lauren is a bit mousy and timid, Katie is brash and flamboyant. Lauren loses her current job and finds that landing her dream job may just be out of reach. She also finds that Katie has several jobs to make ends meet, including working for a phone sex company. As the two women discuss how it works, Lauren realizes that Katie could make much more money if she would just go into business for herself. The film concerns the two women becoming friends, finding common ground and giving the willing public what they want. This is a very raunchy comedy along the lines of Bridesmaids. It is very adult, with themes that will make many uncomfortable. It is just a nudge away from being NC-17 in language and sexual situations. If one is easily offended, this is not your film. That said, the performances in For a Good Time, Call… make the film. Ari Graynor just lights up the screen every moment she is on. She delivers a crackerjack performance that fires on all cylinders, taking the lead on getting the laughs and never backing down. It is the kind of performance that gets noticed in Hollywood. Lauren Anne Miller is new to the scene but commands the screen in a part that could have been from Typecasting 101. She finds a unique way to play a stock character, the put upon girlfriend, and turns it into an empowerment. The portrayal is honest which is why it works so well against Ari Graynor’s character and in the movie. It has some strong cameos from such comedy stalwarts as Seth Rogen and Kevin Smith, both playing guys paying for a service. They both seem to revel in the bawdy grossness of the roles, milking the performance in more ways than one. This film is not for everyone, but it is quite funny, something one wants from comedy. It is a surprisingly fun experience that is NOT for the entire family.
FOR A GOOD TIME, CALL... opens August 31, 2012

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