It’s enough to make you slam down the phone

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Filmreviews -

Yuck! If there’s one thing more an­noy­ing than the dumb main­stream sex com­edy, it’s the dumb main­stream sex com­edy that has as­pi­ra­tions to­wards indie funk. No­body is likely to con­fuse For a Good Time Call . . . with an early Todd Haynes pic­ture, but its mild pre­ten­sions are never too far from its grimy sur­face. You know the sort of thing. The char­ac­ters are framed in blank, cold shots edited to­gether with no great en­ergy. At least one com­bat­ant is an as­pir­ing stand-up comic. The dual pro­tag­o­nists’ most ur­gent de­sire is to re­tain their apart­ment in lower Man­hat­tan. (Would these peo­ple ever just shut up and move to Queens!)

Di­rected by Jamie Travis – hith­erto known for avant garde shorts – the pic­ture is struc­tured like a con­ven­tional ro­man­tic com­edy. Two peo­ple meet at col­lege: one is some­what up­tight (perky Lauren Miller); the other is a boozy lib­er­tine (loud Ari Graynor). Some years later, they are forced to share an apart­ment. At first they squab­ble, but even­tu­ally the cou­ple learn to love one an­other. An in­evitable third-act cri­sis is fol­lowed by an en­thu­si­as­tic rec­on­cil­i­a­tion.

The sup­pos­edly clever twist is that the girls are never ac­tu­ally lovers – in­so­far as I can tell – but are brought to­gether by their shared par­tic­i­pa­tion in a phone-sex busi­ness.

The pres­ence of such luminaries as Seth Ro­gen, Kevin Smith and Nia Varda­los in small roles tells us that more than a few pro­fes­sion­als think the con­cept aw­fully so­phis­ti­cated. It’s not. No amount of “em­pow­er­ment” com­pen­sates for the squalor of the pals’ new work prac­tices. The plod­ding, episodic script (com­plete with gay best friend and snooty dis­ap­prov­ing par­ents) comes across like the pi­lot for a sit­com on a ca­ble chan­nel to which you will never subscribe.

For a bet­ter time slam your head re­peat­edly in the fridge door.

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