Ah, the good old days. Remember when only bad girls wore animal print? And men connected with them through the 900 numbers advertised on late-night television?
I barely do either. The phone-sex comedy "For a Good Time, Call..." doesn't really look like a period piece. But its world is one in which the Internet hasn't happened. How else to explain why its attractive female protagonists looking for cash start a 900 line instead of an online webcam?
And let's face it: The preening involved in those Internet ventures would be less uncomfortable to watch and listen to than the various scenes of phone sex to which we're subjected here.
|'For a Good Time, Call...'|
|2 out of 4 stars|
|Stars: Ari Graynor, Lauren Miller, Justin Long|
|Director: Jamie Travis|
|Rated: R for strong sexual content throughout, language and some drug use|
|Running time: 86 minutes|
You might think there's a lot of potential for humor in a movie about a phone sex line, though. Unfortunately, "For a Good Time, Call..." doesn't fulfill it.
I hate to say it, but I have to wonder: Was co-star and co-writer Lauren Miller able to get this amateurish film made because she's married to one of the biggest names in comedy? Seth Rogen, her husband, even has a cameo here -- as one of the callers, of course. She's tried -- and failed -- to write the sort of raunchy but ultimately winsome comedy that Rogen's frequent collaborator Judd Apatow makes.
It isn't terrible so much as disappointing. Miller plays Lauren, a late-20-something in book publishing who's devastated when her live-in boyfriend dumps her. Ari Graynor is Katie, a buxom blonde who sees herself as the creative type -- which means unable to hold down a serious job.
Their mutual gay friend Jesse (Justin Long) brings them together. Actually, back together: The two met in college and hated each other on sight. Lauren's a bit of a prude; Katie's a bit of a party animal. But one needs a new place to live, and the other needs a roommate to afford her apartment, so they resign themselves to each other.
The setup here is excruciatingly long. Explaining to Lauren how phone sex works takes much less time. Lauren is first disgusted when she learns how her new roommate pays the bills. But when she loses her job, she decides beggars can't be choosers. And a lucrative business -- and friendship -- is born.
The characters aren't well-developed, but Graynor is engaging enough to make hers likeable. Miller's character is less disarming, but the actress does succeed in making her seem real. Too bad she couldn't deliver the same achievement as a screenwriter. Perhaps she needs to watch her husband's movies a few more times.