Look­ing for an OK time, eh? You’ve come to the right place

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - ENTERTAINMENT - By Jay Stone

THE provoca­tively ti­tled For A Good Time Call... is a tonguein-cheek com­edy about phone sex, which sounds about right. Two women fight, fume, and rec­on­cile, all the while breath­ing hard and say­ing things like “fill me up” to strangers who are mas­tur­bat­ing at the other end of the line.

This is sort of funny, in a sad way, but For A Good Time Call… isn’t re­ally about the sex. It’s a film about friend­ship, a fe­male ver­sion of the bro­mance (a girli­ai­son?) that just hap­pens to be dec­o­rated with dil­dos. There aren’t many such films — Brides­maids was a re­cent ex­cep­tion — and all com­ers are wel­come, if you par­don the ex­pres­sion, even if they’re kind of weak at the knees.

The friends are Lauren (co-writer Lauren Miller), the daugh­ter of rich par­ents who is su­per-or­ga­nized and — at least to her de­part­ing boyfriend — su­per-bor­ing (for one thing, she has sex with her bra on), and Katie (Ari Graynor, also the ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer), a self-styled artiste who lives in her grand­mother’s old apart­ment over­look­ing Gramercy Park in New York City and makes ends meet in a va­ri­ety of low-end jobs, in­clud­ing phone sex.

“What­ever they say, I just say I want Star­ring Lauren Miller, Ari Graynor Globe 18A 86 min­utes

out of five to lick it,” she ex­plains help­fully.

Lauren and Katie have a past, a feud that be­gan in univer­sity and is best ex­plained by Lauren’s, “When­ever I smell urine, it re­minds me of the time you peed in my hair.”

How­ever, they are brought to­gether again by mu­tual friend Jesse (Justin Long, giv­ing scrump­tious sup­port as a gay en­abler) when he sees that they each need a room­mate. Soon Lauren gives up her dreams of work­ing in book pub­lish­ing and helps her new BFF turn a fledg­ling sex busi­ness into a high-tech gold­mine. Their ser­vice is called 1-800-MMM-HMMM.

Set in New York, but with the fea­ture­less feel of some­thing ac­tu­ally filmed in Toronto, For A Good Time Call… has some mild fun with the busi­ness of phone sex, no­tably in a se­ries of cameos in which well-known ac­tors play clients.

How­ever, the no­tion of men mas­tur­bat­ing with a phone in one hand isn’t quite as funny as the film­mak­ers seem to think it is, even if the onanists in ques­tion are celebri­ties.

Fur­ther­more, while the movie feints at sex­ual li­cence, di­rec­tor Jamie Travis never lets it tot­ter into full vul­gar­ity, or full hi­lar­ity for that mat­ter. When the women sim­u­late three-way sex for a client, they fake the pas­sion but sur­ren­der to that fe­male habit of com­pli­ment­ing their friend on her clothes and looks.

That habit turns out to be the most in­ter­est­ing part of For A Good Time Call… Lauren and Katie fall into a kind of love, a het­ero­sex­ual af­fair that nonethe­less de­mands the tropes — the cute meet­ing, the ar­gu­ment, the mak­ing-up — of a tra­di­tional rom-com. Phone sex starts as a trans­gres­sive idea, but soon it be­comes a lark to be gig­gled over by two busi­ness­women who talk dirty all day and play clean at night.

Things take a turn for the per­verse with the ar­rival of a new em­ployee, the baby-voiced Krissy (Su­gar Lyn Beard), but she’s just an­other dis­trac­tion who doesn’t last. This is sex with a safety net, a chance to pre­tend to be naughty (Lauren: “I had phone anal.” Jesse: “You had phanal?”) while sur­ren­der­ing to the mid­dle-of-the-road val­ues of true love and abid­ing friend­ship. It’s a num­ber to call for an OK time.

FO­CUS FEA­TURES

Above, from left, Graynor, Long and Miller in For A Good Time, Call... Right, Graynor and Miller.

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