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“For A Good Time, Call…” – Early Review (POSITIVE)

August 30, 2012

I was not a fan of “Bridesmaids”, it was overrated, bloated, and way too long. While working at Sundance this year, I heard that Seth Rogen’s newly wedded wife, Lauren Anne Miller, was debuting her first major feature as a lead and co-screenwriter, about two friends involved in a phone sex operating business, nessled in their quaint little New York apartment. Many were speculating that this film would follow in a similar style and feel as “Bridesmaids”. That’s not the kind of words I wanted to hear, be that as it may, the movie was getting some nice buzz, and if there is only one comparison between the two films, besides it being a female strong cast, was that it was DIRTY. While the film may be predictable towards the end, you gotta admit…you love two sexy, funny, women, talking a little trash now and a again.

In the vein of a modern day female-“Odd Couple”, Lauren (Miller) is the Felix to Katie’s (Ari Graynor) Oscar. The two girls are polar opposites and they have a history, lets just say it ends with somebody getting pee dumped all over them. Lauren and Katie, share a mutual friend, Jesse(Justin Long), back from their college days. Jesse persuades Lauren to move in with Katie, after an embarassing break-up with her boring boyfriend. Katie is in a rut since she cannot afford to live in the apart, the only way she can survive is bringing in a roommate. The unlikely pair start a phone sex line and become best friends while learning about this hilarious world of vibrators, fake orgasms and nighttime callers. When the hot line is hung up and reality comes calling, the most meaningful relationship of their lives are put to the test. Lauren begins to re-evaluate her career options, while Katie is stuck by cupids arrow, as she falls for one her clients, a Brooklyn filmmaker (Mark Webber).

Co-writer, Katie Anne Naylon pens the original screenplay, based on her own life experiences. While attending FSU film school, Katie was caught in the middle of financial woes, and she found herself mixed up in the world of phone sex operation. No one could have believed that this cherub face, innocent looking film student, could become a nasty alter ego by night. It was just too good, that she had to write a movie about it, and that’s the lesson for many struggling screenwriters; if you want to write a good script, one that may be noticed, write what you know. It’s clear that Lauren & Katie, the characters, are almost a perfect comparison to the real-life Lauren & Katie, although I’m no sure how much of this film is fabricated for cinema pleasure, and what’s autobiographical. The movie doesn’t come off so much as an advocate for woman to do phone sex operating, but it shows how people who’re struggling financially will do any odd job just to get by.

Lauren & Ari’s chemistry is one of the biggest reasons this movie works, that bounce off one another so casually, and the improv is smooth. But, it’s Miss Graynor who steels the entire show, her performances is so rambuncious and wild, you almost get the sense that she could be one of your friends you’d want to hang out with; she’s fun loving, care free, and loves to live life wild (hence the job). The movie is filled with some memorable ‘male customer’ cameos, the trailers have given away Seth Rogen, and thankfully they didn’t reveal his entire scene, because it’s hilarious. The other few cameos are fantastic in their own way, but it’s the ‘cabbie’ who steals it, I will not reveal who it is, but it’s a fellow Jersey boy.

Lauren Miller has a long way to go as a comedic actress, when she’s paired with Ari, the skies the limit, but her scenes where it’s just her, she’s very stiff and doesn’t know how to project quite well. She has the potential to be a great comic actress, she’s certainly beautiful (lucky son of a bitch Seth Rogen), but Ari Graynor takes the cake in this film. The female buddy comedy is a harder sell these days, but with movies like “Bridesmaids” advocating more raunch enfused female comedies, it’s no wonder we’d get a better film in the form of “For A Good Time, Call…”.

GRADE: B+

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