For A Good Time, Call… first drew notice at Sundance last year as part of the wave of female-fronted R-rated comedies that Bridesmaids had spawned. But while there has been a bunch of forgettable wannabes in that batch, this phone sex-centered comedy is still memorable for being bubbly, wild and daringly original.
Watching For A Good Time, Call… for the first time since it's theatrical release, I was surprised and delighted to see the movie is even better than I remembered. This comedy is so fully realized, smart, and sprightly paced that it's incredible it was made on an indie budget by a first-time director with two untested leading ladies. And yet here it is, sparkling, dirty and downright hilarious.
The story begins with prim prude Lauren (Lauren Miller), who is looking to get into publishing and is heartbroken over being dumped for her boyfriend for being "boring." Kicked out of her ex-beau's apartment, Lauren relies on her best friend Jesse (Justin Long in one of his best comedic performances to date) to help. So, he re-introduces her to the loud-mouthed and always flirtatious Katie (Ari Graynor), who years ago accidentally spilled a cup of urine all over Lauren's new car in a ghastly but funny party foul. The girls seethe at the sight of each other, but Katie needs a roommate lest she lose her late grandmother's gorgeous Manhattan apartment, and Lauren needs a place ASAP. While they initially try to steer clear of each other's lives, the two become entangled once unemployed Lauren realizes her roommate's sideline as a phone sex operator could be big business.
The gimmick of this comedy is phone sex, which makes room for scads of sex jokes that range from saucy to downright shocking. But at its core, this comedy is really all about female friendship. And yet, this is no schmaltzy chick flick. The chemistry between Miller and Graynor is charged whether they are exchanging furious glares, jaunty barbs, or doing the Dirty Dancing samba topped with a girlish boob bump. And the script penned by Miller and Katie Anne Naylon—who has a cameo as the unfortunate passenger in a Kevin Smith-driven cab—is not only flush with raunchy and wild comedy bits, but also constructs the central pair's relationship from wrathful roommates to cautiously optimistic business partners to faux lovers (for the enjoyment of another cameo caller) to deeply bonded friends with a believable and bouncy build.
Through their shared business, these young women recognize that their differences are their strength as partners. And even while they find fulfillment outside this central relationship—Katie with a new romance, Lauren with a new career prospect—the film's focus is always on their friendship. Graynor and Miller pull off every nuance of this blossoming relationship just as masterfully as they do each double entendre and risqué joke.
By my count the movies that devotedly focus on female friendship and do them justice can be counted on one hand. And For a Good Time, Call… is definitely among them. It's outrageously raunchy, undeniably funny, and has such vivid performances and compelling character arcs that I'm already eager to watch it again. And again. And again. I just can't get enough of these two dirty-talking comediennes.
The picture and audio quality are top-notch. The combo pack comes with the Blu-ray, a DVD copy, a digital copy, and an Ultraviolet copy. So, it basically offers the movie in any format you could possibly want. And in addition to the theatrical version, the disc contains an unrated version that has a smattering of bonus lines and dirty jokes.
As far as special features, there are a handful of deleted scenes (including one where the girls fight using gigantic dildos), a brief behind-the-scenes featurette, and one of the most entertaining commentaries I've ever listened to.
Recorded on the day of the movie's theatrical release, the commentary track features Jamie Travis (director), Ari Graynor (star/exec producer), Lauren Miller (co-writer/star/producer), Katie Anne Naylon (co-writer/producer). The four are giddy over the film's release and amid shout-outs to the cast and crew that got them here, reveal plenty of shocking facts, including that the script was inspired by a phone sex line Naylon ran out of her dorm in college and that the whole film shot in only 16 days! Discovering that the project was so low budget that they expected to get maybe two takes per setup made me appreciate the movie's spot-on execution even more, which is pretty much how I felt with each new detail about this quirky passion project's production. In short, the commentary is informative, quirky, and a total delight.
My only complaint about the disc and its special features is that I wanted more. Just more. When this funny foursome talk about alternative takes, I desperately wish these were included, especially the so-called "Oprah take" of Graynor shouting, "I'm ready to survive date rape!" At least you get an idea of it since she re-enacts it on the commentary.