“For a Good Time Call” should have been better. It had all of the elements necessary for crafting a worthwhile raunchy women’s comedy to rival the three or four guy movies that have come out so far (sort like “Bridesmaids” last year). It has a novel premise: Two young attractive girls decide to operate a phone sex business. The two girls are Katie (Ari Graynor) and Lauren (Lauren Miller). Katie is the blonde wild one. Lauren is the uptight, boring brunette. They both hated each other in college; they still don’t quite get along now but they need each other. Katie needs a roommate to help pay rent; Lauren was dumped by her boyfriend and needs a home. When they first start off on their new business venture Katie is the one that talks dirty and Lauren takes care of the business end responsibilities but soon enough she, the shy conservative one, is talking dirty as well. Oh, the opportunities.
For a little while anyway, the movie is off on a nice little momentum. Jamie Travis’ direction is competent; the script by Miller and Katie Anne Naylon is sharp. And for the record the movie is raunchy, very raunchy. I did laugh yes, most of the time from the pure shock of some of the jokes. Obviously I can’t report many of them because I don’t want to spoil the fun and they’re too mature for this review. Though, I suppose I can share one. There’s a sequence early on when Katie takes Lauren under her wing and teaches her the art of phone sex. I always appreciate scenes like this in comedies because it can make for a long string of funny gags.
Anyway, so there’s the movie chugging along at very high energy, which is fantastic, but as I was watching it I couldn’t help but think about when the movie was going to crash and how bad that crash would be. You see, the movie’s almost too high energy; everyone involved in this picture is obviously excited but they’re too excited. The movie is just “go go go” without anytime for the audience to take a break. Now that high energy might be OK if the movie was consistently funny but instead it’s wildly uneven. A lot of times with the raunchy scenes, it feels like the movie is being raunchy just for the sake of being raunchy. Better yet just about all of the main characters overact. I get it, they’re excited too but by the end of the movie it felt like they were trying much harder than needed to be funny and as a result they don’t gain much dimension. Justin Long as their sassy gay friend gets particularly over the top and annoying. Remaining nothing but a stereotype.
Then when the movie finally does crash from its sugar high it never recovers. We know the two girls will have a major fight, one that causes them to separate and then through one way or another they come back and make up. In the case of “For a Good Time Call” the resolution is lazy and rushed and leaves a few loose ends un tied, which is the weakness of many romantic and regular comedies, yes, but “For a Good Time Call” had so much potential that that final blow is especially disappointing.