For a Good Time, Call...
Substandard comedy starring Lauren Miller and Ari Gaynor
The mild hilarity of two good-hearted girls struggling to make a living in the grimy world of phone-sex provides the unpromisingly twee premise of Jamie Travis’s forgettable For A Good Time Call…, a comedy presumably funded as a goodwill vehicle for Seth Rogen’s new wife Lauren Miller, who co-wrote the script with Katie Anne Naylon.
Travis’ debut feature teams Miller with Fringe’s personable Ari Gaynor; they play Lauren and Katie, two economically challenged twenty-somethings who get together to share the rent on a plush apartment in Manhattan’s Gramercy Park. Despite a contrived adversity going back to college days, when Katie spilt a cup of urine over Lauren’s hair, the two of them unexpectedly bond over an unlikely business venture, marketing their skills as purveyors of telephone sex. With lovelorn but over-keen clients including Kevin Smith as a taxi driver and Rogen as an airline pilot, the girls are soon taking their telephone manner to the bank, but soon the pressures of their dirty enterprise begin to take their toll.
The cameos are arguably the strongest element of Travis’s dog-eared comedy, which seems somewhat quaintly positioned in an era of live webcams and online pornography. Justin Long contributes an equally dated gay stereotype as their willing accomplice Jesse, but it’s the overwhelmingly coy attitude to sexual matters which sinks For A Good Time, Call…. Unlike Superbad, Knocked Up or any of Judd Apatow’s high-minded, low-brow comedies, Travis seems intent on holding his trash talkers at arm’s length, and instead focuses on dull, sitcom-level character development for the girls. In a year short of comedies, it’s a shame to spurn one which sports such a puppy-ish desire to be liked, but for a really good time, you’d be better off just watching Bridesmaids again.
General release from Fri 2 Nov.