Looking for an OK time, eh? You’ve come to the right place
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.
Above, from left, Graynor, Long and Miller in For A Good Time, Call... Right, Graynor and Miller.