- Running time:
- 86 minutes
- Ari Graynor -
- Katie Steele
- Lauren Anne Miller -
- Lauren Powell
- Justin Long -
- Mark Webber -
- James Wolk -
Like a lot of sexual banter, For a Good Time, Call (** out of four; rated R; opens Friday in select cities) does its share of teasing, but amounts to nothing serious.
Despite some earnest laughs and a sincere heart, Call can't seem to rise above its TV sitcom styling. The Bridesmaids wannabe takes its requisite turns at being raunchy and risque, but the script occasionally has the ring of an ad for a sex chatline, where emotions run about as deep as the wallet.
Anchored cheerfully by comedians Lauren Anne Miller (a writer on the script) and Ari Graynor, Call asks what happens when you put two sexually stunted, cash-strapped Manhattan women in an apartment together.
Why, phone sex, of course.
At a brisk 88 minutes, Call doesn't take much time getting you into the mood for plot, which calls for Lauren (Miller) to shack up with the loud-mouthed Katie (Graynor) as both look to make the rent. They decide to pool Lauren's knack for business and Katie's knack for arousal to start 1-900-MMM-HMMM.
Miller gets the lion's share of good lines and scenes here, as Graynor is asked to be the raunchy propellant of Call, much like Melissa McCarthy stole last year's Bridesmaids.
But Call's story arcs are so predictable they wouldn't sustain most Sex and the City episodes. Lauren dates a cartoonish jerk and is a beauty posing as a nerd in slacks. Katie's sexual bravado is a thinly veiled front. Lauren's parents, played with permanent smiles by Mimi Rogers and Don McManus, pop by unannounced more often than Mr. Roper visited Jack and Chrissy.
If there's a bright spot, it's Justin Long, who plays the gay BFF of Lauren and Katie and acts as roommate counselor. His lines may come direct from Hollywood's gay sidekick handbook (everything is just fabulous), but he has so much fun with the role it's hard not enjoy the performance.
Other male stars turn quick cameos, including Kevin Smith and Seth Rogen, who have never had issues with pleasuring themselves on-screen.
This could have been fertile ground for comedy, particularly as Lauren and Katie begin to expand their empire, which means risky job hires.
But for every brush with burlesque, Call recedes to safer ground, where phone sex girls fall for lonely customers and operators nap together in their undies.
Call isn't without its pleasures, but the film still feels like it's going through the motions.
Movie theaters and showtimes for For a Good Time, Call ... in Detroit.
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