Review: 'For a Good Time Call' Is Well Worth a Ring

This is a movie about phone sex, so prudes beware. In fact, many people may not like this film, from uptight parents to awkward first dates, but for the rest of us, "For a Good Time Call" feels like a breath of fresh air -- a fun, healthy, sexy comedy that pulls no punches and focuses on a realistic female friendship and the powerful dynamic that sexuality plays in our lives.

When money runs short and there are no other options in New York City, two college frenemies are convinced by a mutual friend (Justin Long) to move in together. The two girls , wild party girl Katie (Ari Graynor) and uptight, responsible Lauren (Lauren Miller), could not be more different. But the two need the other in order to pay rent and survive, so a shaky peace is achieved for some time before it is revealed that one of the roommates, Katie, is running a phone sex line.

While Lauren shakes her head and remains positive that she'll find a great job in the publishing world, she's rebuffed at every turn and must eventually turn to upholding the business end of the phone sex line. Things go remarkably well as Lauren runs billings and Katie runs the sexier side of the business, but eventually Lauren herself must step into the role of phone vixen. Though the girls are making a great deal of money, when the opportunity to return to legitimacy presents itself to Lauren, she just might take a step away from the business, risking her friendship with Katie and the entire enterprise.

The strength of the movie comes from the remarkably well-written script, filled with sharp dialogue and true-to-life moments that showcase Ari Gaynor and Lauren Miller's sense of comedic timing. The jokes that land fully are the ones that are obviously crafted from the fabric of life. Miller and her co-writer Katie Anne Naylon have listened, and listened closely. Their script is a thing of beauty, filled with the sort of acerbic dialogue and realistic situations that the writers of "Sex and the City" could only have dreamed of.

For those of us living in a post-collegiate delirium, Miller and Naylon have nailed the difficulty of discovering one's calling, and the complicated nature of female relationships. A word to the squeamish: yes, this film features plenty of frank sexual dialogue that many will find embarrassing, but "For a Good Time Call" isn't shy about the sexual aspect, and this bold lack of shame is actually the reason it works as well as it does.

The performances rein in the slightly ridiculous concept, with Ari Graynor bearing the majority of the film on her gorgeous shoulders. While Lauren Miller turns in a delightful take on the frigid bitch who warms up eventually, and Justin Long is charming as the mutual best friend who just wants everyone to succeed, this film is solely focused on the female friendship, and their friendship rings as true to life as the script. Any woman who has ever had a close female friend will find much to appreciate, even as the awkward closeness may not encompass all relationships. The girls here seem to deeply understand how to convey that closeness, despite differences in upbringing, education and expectation.  Though they could not be more different, Katie and Lauren's relationship in the film is a lot of fun to watch, from their fights to their unrelenting love and affection for one another.

While "For a Good Time Call" isn't the finest film ever released, it centers itself around a very basic concept and succeeds as a result. The power that emanates from a strong female relationship can illuminate a world of insufficiency, and it's clear that Lauren Miller has an eye and and ear for the intricacies of comedy. "For a Good Time Call" is a juicy bon mot, the tastiest tea-time cake, a petit-four of delicious naughtiness, and is a major success because it understands the scope of what it is trying to accomplish, and it accomplishes it quite well. With sexy hijinks, female friendship and a whole lot of dirty-talk, "For a Good Time Call" is worth a ring.

Grade: B+

Movie & TV Awards 2018