FOR A GOOD TIME, CALL...
Cert 18 | ***
After two films and six seasons of Sex and the City, the combination of raunchy dialogue, sex toys and gay best friends is no longer a shocking or original way to depict the lives of professional women in their thirties. For a Good Time, Call… manages to be both eye-rollingly formulaic and wildly implausible. However, thanks to two strong central performances from Lauren Miller (who also co-wrote the script with Katie Naylon) and Ari Graynor, it is just about endurable.
The film opens with a passionless, awkward sex scene between Lauren and her boyfriend. “You’re sexy”, she musters, prompting a perfunctory “you’re sexy too” from her lawyer boyfriend – she is not well versed in the language of sex.
Shortly afterwards, her boyfriend ends the relationship, citing their dull sex life as the main reason for his dissatisfaction. She is forced to leave the flat that they share and has no choice but to move in with the sexually liberated Katie (Gaynor), an old enemy from college who desperately needs a roommate.
It becomes clear that Katie is supplementing her income by working as a phone-sex operator. Despite Lauren’s initial disapproval, after losing her job she gets in on the act too. At first she just takes on the role of managing Katie’s business. But before long she has taken up the role of operator herself, inviting callers to “put it anywhere – yes, even there”.
Occasionally the camera cuts away to the man masturbating on the other end of the line. This allows Miller and Naylon to incorporate cameos from Kevin Smith, Ken Marino and Miller’s husband, Seth Rogan. Some of these are funny, some are not – all are unrealistic. Rogan, for example, is an aircraft pilot in full uniform pleasuring himself over the phone in the toilet before lift off.
The first 20 minutes of FGTC… are totally devoid of laughs. But after the girls move in together and Gaynor gets more screen-time, the whole thing livens up considerably. They have excellent chemistry and what the film lacks in laughs and originality it makes up for with the engaging portrayal of their friendship.