Sunday, September 2, 2012

For a Good Time, Call...

The best reason to check out For a Good Time, Call..., the latest in the girls behaving badly movement bolstered by Bridesmaids' high grosses, is for Ari Graynor's lead performance.  She plays Katie, a bawdy, smut-mouthed sassy blonde.  In a snap she recalls the flightiness of Goldie Hawn in her prime tinged with an unexpected natural grace that recalls a mixture of Sissy Spacek's innocence with Debra Winger's earthiness.  And while the film is a trashy, but gentle spirited portrait of female bonding, it's Graynor's game and spitfire comic timing that keeps things interesting-- she's seemingly transcending the dumb blonde archetype with every playfully naughty gesture and pose.  For those smitten with her scene-stealing gross-out in Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist (2008) and watched her talents go under-utilized in this summers Celeste & Jesse Forever, she pounces feverishly and delivers most of the good time on display here.  I have a feeling Woody Allen could write a marvelous part for her.

The film about two young women-- Graynor's Katie and Lauren (played by the films co-writer and Ms. Seth Rogan, Lauren Miller), both of whom have a long-standing loathe of one another since college, are due to improbable circumstances stuck as roommates in a beautiful (and unreal) Manhattan apartment.  The set-up is sitcom-kitsch, as Lauren is the uptick, stick up her butt do-gooder type and Katie is the free-spirited pixie.  When Lauren learns of Katie's secret trade-- she's a phone sex operator-- she's instantly judgement, but also a bit turned on.  Further circumstances lead the two going into business with one another; Lauren is a no-fun Type-A control freak, but even Katie admires her business plan.  What slowly starts to develop is a friendship that's rooted as a meet-cute boys-meets-girl romantic comedy, and there's a nice underlined sweetness to the girls courtship as besties.  And while the revelations that come are far from fresh-- for instance Katie is not quite as loose as her dirty talk lets on, and Lauren is not nearly as much as a bore once her freak flag starts to rear in-- the performers keep it from seeming stale.

For a Good Time, Call... was directed by Jamie Travis, and written by Miller and Katie Anne Naylon instills a candy-colored backdrop, instilling a nice, never stern or scary eavesdrop into sex-trade workers-- even the girls' clients are never seen as sleazy, creepy individuals, just randy men (Seth Rogan makes a cameo as a horny pilot), while the fake orgasms and sex toys never over-populate the sweet friendship at the film center.  The film deserves at least half the success of The Hangover, with a premise just as likely, but instilled with far more humanity, and two very funny ladies.  B

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