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MOVIE REVIEW: For a Good Time, Call...

Worth while if you are in the mood for silly, sweet lightly raunchy humor wrapped around a tale of woman empowerment and friendship. Not utterly new but may be worth the call.

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RATED: ★ ★ ★ ★ buckets | WORTH: DVD or Rental

Rated: R  Language, strong sexual content and some drug use

Release Date: August 31, 2012
Runtime:  1 hour 26 minutes

Director: Jamie Travis
Writers: Lauren Miller, Katie Anne Naylon
Cast:  Ari Graynor, Lauren Anne Miller, Justin Long, Mark Webber, James Wolk SYNOPSIS:  Former college frenemies Lauren and Katie find themselves sharing the monthly expenses in a fabulous Gramercy Park apartment, and in order to make ends meet, the unlikely pair start a phone sex line together.

REVIEW: Writer/Director Jamie Travis moves from documentaries and shorts to full length features with his first effort involving two girl who are forced together under financial distress. Written by one of the film's stars Lauren Miller (Girls! Girls! Girls!), and co-written by new scribe Kate Anne Naylon, the audience is treated to female raunchiness and humor. During her college years, Lauren Powell (Lauren Miller, 50/50) is asked by her friend Jesse (Justin Long, The Conspirator) to take his other drunk friend Kate Steel (Ari Graynor, The Sitter) home. Even though she is uptight, Lauren relents and does Jesse the favor. When Kate pees in an empty soda cup and spills it all over Lauren by accident, Lauren vows to put Kate under frienemy status. Ten years later, Lauren faces her boyfriend Charlie (James Wolk, Happy Endings) who wants to put their 'boring' relationship on hold while he goes to Europe for a new job and new adventures. Kate also faces her own troubles as she faces eviction from her grandmother's spacious formerly rent-controlled apartment. Both having their own troubles, Jesse steps in to bring the two together in their time of crisis. Moving in together at Kate's apartment, the new roommates do not see eye to eye. But when Lauren's life-plan to get an editing job fails, she decides to join Kate in a joint business venture in a sex-chat phone line.   

For a Good Time, Call is a sweet and lightly raunchy comedy with all of the earmarks of a female The Hangover without any of the cursing or nudity. All of the comic gags and sensual situations are suggestive, but no females were harmed in the making of the film. There is a stripper pole in Kate's apartment, courtesy of Kate' grandmother, plus an entire box of phallus symbols of varying widths and lengths. Kate's chosen profession as a sex-chat operator is only made better by the addition of Lauren as their new company's business manager. As their business grows and the money starts coming in, Kate and Lauren have to expand by hiring another girl named Krissy (Suger Lyn Beard, 50/50). The chat line attracts many kooks like airline pilot Jerry (Seth Rogen, 50/50), and a few regulars like Kate favorite Sean (Mark Webber, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World).

Both girls, although succeeding in their business and their healing friendship, they both struggle to deal with their own secrets. Lauren, while successful, shows shame when confronted by her Long Island mother Adele (Mimi Rogers, Hope Springs) and father Scott (Don McManus). Kate, raised wholly by her late grandmother, tries to rely on herself with a carefree smile and light attitude.

Lauren Miller and Ari Graynor play off each other as the Yin-Yang of the same circle. Responsibility versus spontaneity, planning versus doing, and rationale versus emotion. Ari Graynor reminds me of Shaun of the Dead's Kate Ashfield character Liz without the British accent. Her seventies sensibility includes a feathered blond hairdo and terry cloth jumpsuits. Former Macintosh spokesperson Justin Long digs deep into a scraggly flamboyance as the gay best friend to both Kate and Lauren. Seth Rogen is silly as one of the phone johns, plus another notable cameo takes loading dock jargon to a new extreme. Mark Webber is a timid but honest regular Sean, while James Wolk's ex-boyfriend Charlie reinforces why women don't stay in relationships too long.

The story is solid and the laughs come from the silly situations the pair of independent ladies find themselves in. Justin Long's Jesse and Suger Lyn Beard's phone operator Krissy are the break out characters of the flick, each chewing up the scenery with every moment they are in front of the camera.

For a Good Time, Call... is something worth while if you are in the mood for silly, sweet lightly raunchy humor wrapped around a tale of woman empowerment and friendship. The characters work well together and the writing team of Miller and Naylon get the job done. The movie is not anything utterly new, but if you have some spare time, give 'em a call. 

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