Written by: Kristen Lopez, Editor in Chief
It’s really, really, REALLY hard to find a female friendship comedy that I truly like. Films today are far too content to have women willing to step on each others throats to get an advantage. Even last year’s Bridesmaids, a film I love to death, still have women competing against each other (even if it’s for the friendship of another woman). Thankfully, there is a breath of fresh air in For a Good Time Call…a film about two women who become friends, start a business, and discover their sexuality with humor heartily injected throughout. In a way, For a Good Time Call…is an anti romantic-comedy where the focus of the romance and comedy is in the female friendship.
Lauren (Lauren Miller) loses her job and her boyfriend within days of each other. With no place to go she’s forced to live with the dippy Katie (Ari Graynor) who can’t afford the payments on her apartment. The two have been enemies since college, but must work together to keep afloat. Lauren soon discovers that Katie is a phone sex operator, and comes up with a lucrative idea to start their own phone sex hotline.
The premise of the film feels a bit dated, I’ll give you that. I mean, how successful are phone sex lines nowadays? And I highly doubt that someone as beautiful as Ari Graynor is actually answering and listening to these calls. Regardless, the film’s script, penned by Miller herself and Katie Anne Naylon, is frisky and hilarious. What works is how frank Lauren and Katie are about sex, while not being written as tramps. Lauren is a type-A personality whose boyfriend is as dull as watching paint dry. At the same time Katie is trash mouth who, on the surface, is a slut.
That’s ultimately what makes For a Good Time Call…so unique for young women. It’s not a big plot spoiler, but I’ll warn you regardless. You’ve been warned. It’s revealed late in the film that for all of Katie’s talk she’s a virgin. As a 24-year-old girl with a crass mouth I was beyond ecstatic to see virginity in one’s 20s being tackled in a film. Too often virginity in films is either equated with being a social outcast or being a saint. It’s also been relegated to males of late. 20-something women who are remaining virgins are on the rise and the film never makes apologies or excuses for Katie. Katie admits she’s all talk, and it does show the double standard that if a female talks about sex too much she must be a slut.
Furthermore, the film also embraces female friendships. Sure, Katie and Lauren start out as enemies, but they band together in a way that feels organic. Their business isn’t created out of thin-air because Lauren is a business whiz. When the two do split up it’s not over a guy, or something similarly petty, it’s because the feeling is that one business is considered “cleaner” than another. The film never makes Katie apologize, and it never makes either woman apologize for their business. The characters who feel the girls’ sex hotline, 1-900-MmmHmmm, are seen as uptight jerks. For all intents and purposes, For a Good Time Call…masks talking about sex and the double standards still inherent in life and in film, by exploring how two friends create a business and a friendship. Towards the end the film does make a turn into making fun of romantic comedies that never truly comes off that well. It all revolves around Lauren and Katie saying “I love you” to each other which comes off as a tad childish. For all the headway the film makes on breaking down barriers of sex and friendship, alluding to a lesbian relationship feels silly.
I encourage women to seek out For a Good Time Call… It’s funny, it’s smart, and the leads are fantastic. I think Ari Graynor is an underused gem and this film proves it!
For a Good Time Call… is now available to rent on Amazon.
Author: Kristen Lopez, Editor in Chief
Kristen Lopez is the editor-in-chief of CC2K and a freelance pop culture essayist. Her work has appeared on Roger Ebert, The Hollywood Reporter, and The Daily Beast. When she’s not burning down Film Twitter she runs two podcasts, the female-centric film show Citizen Dame, and the classic film-themed Ticklish Business.