For a Good Time Call…(2012)

By Brandon Bastaldo

For a film about two twenty-something year old friends who start their own phone sex line, For A Good Time Call… proves to be more than just a cheap thrill. Penned by Lauren Miller, wife to Vancouverite comedy kingpin Seth Rogan, and Miller’s own real life best friend Katie Anne Naylon, For a Good Time Call plays out like a sassy-sweet love ballad to besties everywhere.

Directed by Torontonian director Jamie Travis, For a Good Time follows the path of Lauren Powell (Lauren Miller): a shy yet incredibly business savvy twenty something living in New York whose rigid all work and no play attitude has caused her love life and personality to become completely boring. And Lauren’s life seems even more colourless once we meet the boisterous, sexy, yet quite kooky Katie Steele (Ari Graynor) who is another twenty something New Yorker living in her deceased Bubbie’s apartment and works three jobs to support her bougie image. When Lauren desperately needs a place to relocate and Ari has to find a roommate in order to keep her well-priced apartment, the ladies’ goofy yet well-manicured mutual friend Jesse (Justin Long) introduces, or rather reintroduces, them. Once Lauren learns that one of Katie’s eclectic occupations includes phone sex operator, Lauren’s offer as a business partner eventually blossoms into a budding business and rollicking friendship.

Ari Graynor is a shoo-in for Katie, the doob-smoking, loud mouthed wild child who teaches Lauren to be herself, but it is undoubtedly Miller and Naylon’s ‘broke girl problems’ which will  make For a Good Time resonate with audiences on a much more personal and contemporary level. Once Lauren is actually living with Katie, we come to realize that Katie’s loud booming mouth is really just a guard for her own insecurities- and suddenly Lauren isn’t the only odd person whose self-confidence cripples them.

For a Good Time Call makes its characters’ wade through the hilarity and the craziness of being a young woman living in New York City, and thinking about the hot- neon pink letters that spell out the film’s title  force me to rethink this movie’s outwardly playful appeal. The very complexity of friendship is dealt with in such an intelligent way here that it is obvious that For a Good Time Call has a style more specific, a flare even more vibrant than just a wild fem laugh-a-thon like Bridesmaids.

Most notably, with the arrival of new and often completely glossless female friendly programming like HBO’s Girls, For a Good Time Call undoubtedly speaks to a similar audience of young people who want to cut the glamour bullshit of seeing Carrie Bradshaws (Sarah Jessica Parker) walk through the streets of Manhattan boo hooing about their stolen Manolo Blahnik’s.

Instead, For a Good Time Call gives us baskets of dildos, pilots holding up flights to jerk off in bathroom stalls, and doobie smoking phone sex operators. What we get are the Hannah Horvaths, the Lauren Powells, and the Katie Steeles who are in many ways the anti-heroes of everything we’ve been taught to admire in women on screen, and this modification of the new age young lady couldn’t be more admirable- or funnier.

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