Tuesday, September 25, 2012

For a Good Time, Call... (2012)

Seen: At the AMC/Loews at Boston Common.

It's a familiar story, really. Attractive twentysomething meets another attractive twentysomething in New York City. They are unwittingly thrust together into a situation, and though at first their clashing personalities lead to bickering and sabotage, they eventually learn to work together. Blossoming friendship leads to love, then suddenly: conflict! They are torn apart and hate each other for a little while. But the audience knows they'll be back together again by the end, because they're meant to be! It's a simple enough tale, but cleverly twisted around in For a Good Time, Call..., which takes the aforementioned formula and applies it to two young women (Lauren Anne Miller and Ari Graynor) who start a phone sex service to earn money in the big city.

Applying tired romantic comedy tropes to a female friendship is a weirdly brilliant idea to me, and for all its recognizable stereotypes the film still feels fresh and original. The leading ladies are incredibly fun in their roles, with Miller's goody-two-shoes gradually sliding into gleeful depravity and Graynor's over the top party girl revealing a layered personality. Their chemistry is fantastic, and I loved just watching them hang out and sometimes have phone sex with people, which is what most of the movie is. There is a bit of a romantic subplot (with Mark Webber, yay!) as well as an undercurrent of "I'm in my mid-twenties and need to start a career, somehow", but the thrust of the film is the friendship that develops between the main characters. It's in essence a very simple movie, and I liked that about it. No one is trying too hard, no one is complicating things, no one is not having a fun time. A number of goofy montages and a slew of comedic cameos (most excitingly, Ken Marino!) fill out the rom-com parody, but the filmmakers keep it trim and perfectly paced. There is only as much as is needed, and I felt wholly satisfied after its 85 minute runtime. There's a fun soundtrack too!

Yes, For a Good Time, Call... is utterly silly and mostly fluffy, but as far as I can tell that was the intention. It portrays a positive and fairly realistic female friendship, which is one of my favorite things in movies, and by the end I was just really smiley. The only thing I was iffy on was Justin Long's gay friend stereotype, but when I realized this whole movie was a romantic comedy parody, his character felt more appropriate since yeah... that's a thing! They switched it up a bit by making him NOT willing to help his gal pals all the time, he basically throws them together and then leaves because he's got his own life to deal with.

Anyway this movie is super fun and I just super dug it, ok?

4.5/5

Pair This Movie With: Obviously any other fun best friends movie! The tone and humor are in line with Romy & Michele's High School Reunion (though definitely more lewd). I was also in the mood for Whip It, maybe it's the Ari Graynor connection! Or if you wanted a dude counterpart, maybe something like Clerks?

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