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For a Good Time, Call…: A Buddy Comedy With Girls and Phone Sex (Awesome!)   Leave a comment

“Hi there, I’m Amanda.  What are you up to?” – “Amanda”
“Oh, hi, I just, uh, thought I’d give the hotline a try.  What are you doing?” – Randy Marsh
“I’m making a pan roasted chicken.” – “Amanda”

Top Line:For a Good Time, Call…” is a fantastic comedy and a very good movie to boot.  It’s very funny, doesn’t drag out its inevitable ending, and is well acted through and through.

Who (probably) should see this movie: Anyone who’s ever had an orgasm they didn’t feel bad about.

Who (probably) should not see this movie: Those who have not, especially weirdly prudish people.

Box Score:

Runtime:1h:25m – And good for it.Start Time: Showtime + 15 minutes
MPAA:R – “for strong sexual content throughout, language and some drug use”Feh.  There is a lot of masturbation, but that’s hardly adult material, most Americans start doing that in junior high.  All in all, it’s a very chaste sex comedy.  There’s no nudity, and while the language is a little raunchy, it’s nothing kids can’t hear on South Park.  The only drug use is marijuana, which is already white-people-legal in most places and might be all-the-way-legal in like three states before this movie gets to home video, so that’s hardly something worth shielding from the kids.

Should Be Rated: PG-12

Three Stars:

  1. Lauren Miller – Upper Middle Class Manhattan Stereotype:
    Miller pulls off the more complex of the two lead roles as the one who thinks of herself as above phone sex.  Miller co-wrote the movie (so her character is, naturally, ambitious and literary minded), and gave herself plenty of opportunities to shine.
  2. Ari Graynor – Lower Middle Class Manhattan Stereotype:
    Graynor gets the shallow party girl who’s not as hardcore as she pretends to be and makes her believable and sympathetic when the time comes.
  3. Justin Long – The Only Mostly Stereotypical Gay Girls Friend:
    Pops in and out of the movie like some Shakespearian sprite, but does his part well.
Need to See In Theater (Baseline: 2):

  • +2 Flat out good movie.
  • +1 Good comedies are always better seen with an audience.
  • -1 There’s nothing here that won’t play just as well on your television in a few months.

Final Score: 4

Need to See Eventually (Baseline: 5):

  • +2 Again, flat out good movie.
  • +1 It’s a funny sex comedy.  This was practically made to be a date night movie.

Final Score: 8

Bechdel (Baseline: 5):

  • +5 Passes Bechdel Test Easily

Final Score: 10

IMDb Sez:

Director:

  • Jamie Travis:
    Canadian who’s only done a bunch of obscure indie stuff and shorts.  First time in the big chair.

Writers:

Rotten Tomatoes Sez:

All Critics: 59% Top Critics: 63% Audience: 74%

Dots:

  • Those Rotten Tomatoes numbers are all terribly low.  This is a fantastic film.
  • Seth Rogan’s cameo is a reminder that he is often much funnier when not asked to carry the story.  It’s almost worth the price of admission.
  • How can you not love a movie that contains lines about a job being “filled by nepotism” and “that’s a lot of dildos”?
  • They even snuck in a successful pedophile joke!  That’s not easy to do.
  • This movie is what the overly discussed HBO show Girls is trying so very hard to become.  It’s goofy and wacky and feminine all at the same time, but, unlike Girls, For a Good Time, Call… isn’t foolish enough to think that weird and maudlin are the same thing as profound and dramatic.
  • I’m not sure if this exact concept is durable enough to support a sequel, but if Miller and Graynor want to make another buddy comedy together, I’d pay to see it.
  • Mimi Rogers and Don McManus are wasted on rail thin uptight parent parent roles that probably had to be there but weren’t a great deal of fun or fleshed out beyond the bare minimum.

Bottom Line: For A Good Time, Call… is a very funny movie that follows a standard buddy movie template by having two people who can’t stand each other become partners and then friends.  It stars two women, so it ends with hugging and declarations of love instead of the more traditional drink and a slap on the back, but it executes the formula exceedingly well, with plenty of comic adventure and screwball characters, and it doesn’t linger over the inevitable falling out and reconciliation that drag down the last third to half of so many other comedies.

Along the way are an absolute ton of sex jokes, catty wordplay, sex jokes, pop culture gags, and sex jokes.  The movie doesn’t get bogged down with any unnecessary subplots, but does manage to work in plenty of amusing side characters, only a few of whom are, ahem, gentlemen callers.  Nia Vardalos is the harsh boss at the literary agency, Sugar Lyn Beard is another phone sex operator, and Martha MacIsaac provides some perfect comic relief to keep the third act from becoming dreary and overly dramatic.  In the gentleman caller division, Kevin Smith plays the worst taxi driver you’ve ever had and Seth Rogan steals a scene as a masturbating airline pilot who would rather delay his flight than delay his orgasm.

All those distractions are a great part of what makes For a Good Time, Call… so consistently fun.  The movie has a story and sticks to it without any obvious forehead slapping moments, but it is primarily concerned with watching Lauren Powell and Ari Graynor enjoy themselves as upwardly mobile ladies of the city.  They laugh, they learn, they say wonderfully filthy things.  All in all, it makes for a very good movie that is very much worth watching (provided you don’t think non-procreative sex is a sin or something, then you might not like it).

Movies Deemed Commercially and Demographically Similar Enough to Merit Trailers Before For a Good Time, Call…:

The Sessions – Whether or not this sucks will depend greatly on the drama/cutesy : funny ratio.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Your standard coming of age comedy about kids coming to terms with things.  The trailer wants you to know it comes from people behind Juno (2007).  Remember what I said about the drama/cutesy : funny ratio above?  Goes just as much for this one.

Anna Karenina – Your standard historical costume movie that makes Americans think everyone in the past spoke with a British accent.  This one comes with the added artistic pedigree of Tolstoy, so get ready to pretend that you read and/or remember it.  This isn’t so much Oscar bait as an Oscar meal.

Pitch Perfect – I remain apathetic about this movie, but if it’s actually as self aware as the trailer makes it seem, it could be very watchable.  It’ll depend greatly on whether or not its nearly two-hour run time is justified or filler.

WARNING: The comments section is a spoiler friendly zone.  By reading this with your inner monologue, you have waved any right to bitch about spoilers in perpetuity throughout the universe.

Posted September 14, 2012 by Charlie Sweatpants in Box Score Cinema, South Park

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