For a Good Time, Call… | Movie review
The Odd Couple meets Girl 6 in this earnest but rarely hilarious comedy.
In comedy, as in the bedroom, sweetness only gets you so far. Who, given the choice, wouldn’t trade a warm-and-fuzzy feeling for out-of-breath satisfaction? That’s a roundabout way of saying For a Good Time, Call… is more pleasantly diverting than funny. A distaff Odd Couple crossed with Girl 6, the film finds recently dumped wallflower Lauren (cowriter Lauren Miller) moving in with cash-strapped flibbertigibbet Katie (Ari Graynor), despite some ancient bad blood between the two. “Remember Monica and Rachel’s apartment?” asks mutual gay BFF Jesse (Justin Long), urging his gal pals to live together. “This one makes that one look like a fucking shoebox.” The Friends reference is apropos, as there’s something very ’90s-sitcom safe about the ensuing high jinks. The movie talks naughty but plays nice, even after revealing that Katie is a phone-sex operator—and that her shy new roomie wants in on the lucrative action.
Given how rarely Hollywood tackles relationships between women, it’s refreshing to see a comedy built around a genuine girl-mance. (At its best, Call… plays like a gender-flipped I Love You, Man, complete with a climactic declaration of platonic affection.) Good intentions, however, can’t entirely compensate for the dearth of clever jokes. Nor can the leads inject much life into the predictable plot, though Graynor, in her first starring role after several thankless sister/best-friend parts, gives it her loopy-enthusiastic all. For a better time, call your cable provider; Girls, a superior chronicle of sex, the city and female friendship, is just an HBO subscription away.