For A Good Time, Call...Overview -
Lauren and Katie move in together after a loss of a relationship and a loss of a rent controlled home, respectively. When Lauren learns what Katie does for a living the two enter into a wildly unconventional business venture.
Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take
Gals can be raunchy too. We've seen a wave of R-rated women-led comedies where girls talk candidly about sex, masturbation, and other bodily functions. Recently the most famous girl gross-out comedy was 'Bridesmaids,' but there have been a few other notables like 'For a Good Time, Call…'
Last year at Sundance there were two bawdy comedies featuring 'Hangover' type humor only with ladies at the forefront. The first one, 'Bachelorette' skewed darker in its comedy. While a semi-hit at the festival, it never really gained much steam. Personally, I found it easier to relate to the free-loving, formulaic comedy starring Ari Graynor and Lauren Anne Miller.
Graynor possesses an infectious spirit. Her spunky off-the-wall humor drew me in. The scenes without her lack the joyfulness that she brings, which makes 'For a Good Time, Call…' an uneven, but moderately enjoyable comedy.
Katie (Graynor) is a hip New Yorker who lives in a lush apartment overlooking Gramercy Park. Even though she works a handful of jobs, she's in danger of losing her place once rent control expires. She needs to find a roommate and fast.
Lauren (Miller) is also looking for a place to stay after moving out of her boyfriend's place. They've broken up because their routine became too mundane for him. Lauren was a fan of the routine mostly because she likes certainty.
You can see what's coming together, right? This is where the formulaic aspect of the movie comes in. This is your basic odd couple story. Katie is an outgoing, sexual being who is open to anything and everything. Lauren is a shut-off introvert who wants desperately to work at a desk job where no one bothers her. It's only appropriate that they shack up so wacky hijinks can then ensue.
Despite its blatant three-act predictability it still ends up being a funny comedy to watch simply because Graynor demands your attention. She works her cute candidness effortlessly. She has no problems delivering some of the movie's most sexually explicit lines with a smile on her face. Like everything is one big joke.
See, Katie among her myriad of jobs also works as a sex phone operator. Obviously this goes against everything Lauren expects from life. However, there's money to be made so Lauren helps out with the business side of things while Katie takes care of the clients.
At times it seems like the movie's screenplay is trying too hard to deliver as much raunchy behavior as it possibly can. There are scenes that feel forced and are unfunny as a result (I'm looking at you, Kevin Smith cameo).
It's hard to complain too much though because of Graynor's performance. She genuinely appears to be having fun doing her own thing. She's the only one in the movie that doesn't seem like she's going through the motions of acting. Her scenes feel natural and her oddly cute romance with one of her callers played by Mark Weber becomes the movie's most endearing characteristic.
It isn't a transcendent comedy by any means. It follows too close to the "break-up, make-up" formula. Many of the alleged gross-out sequences feel a little too forced for the movie's own good. That said, Graynor is simply fun to watch. Her bubbly attitude makes the movie worth watching.
Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
This is a Universal release. The 2-disc set comes with a DVD, Blu-ray, and UltraViolet Digital Copy. The Blu-ray is a 50GB disc. They are packaged in a standard Blu-ray keepase that comes with a slipcover. This release also features an unrated edition (88 min.) which is exactly three minutes longer than the theatrical version (85 min).
The color palette is bright and colorful. Like most recently filmed movies, 'For a Good Time, Call…' features a warmly inviting 1080p transfer. From the exterior shots of famous New York locales, to the indoor scenes of Katie's impossibly lush uptown apartment, this Blu-ray looks as strong as can be expected.
The warm color palette shines on screen. From pink phones to brightly bedazzled sex toys, we get a lively array of colors. Primaries shimmer and black are as inky as they should be. Skin tones, may have burned a little on the hot side, but it isn't really anything to fret about. Shadows deliver nice depth without overshadowing fine detail.
Speaking of fine detail, it's on full display here. Facial features such as freckles, moles, and smile lines appear as naturally as possible. The picture is sharp and I didn't detect any really noticeable soft shots. The clarity stayed consistently impressive throughout the movie. I didn't notice any egregious compression errors, banding, or aliasing. Everything was as it should be for this recent of a release.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix gave me more than I was expecting from a dialogue-heavy rom-com. These mixes usually consist of a very limited sound environment. The movie, by its nature, doesn't have a ton of scenes in which to show off sonic prowess, however there are a few instances where it shows that it may be a step above others in its genre.
Mostly I'm speaking of the few New York street scenes and another couple scenes where Katie's phony orgasmic phone sex voice echoes through the apartment. There's some decent, if not involving, surround sound going on. Cars whooshing by, honking in the distance, birds chirping, people milling about. This is usually where small comedies skimp on audio mixing, but I felt that 'For a Good Time, Call…' was well-rounded in that aspect. Giving a good sense of what it's like to walk along a New York city street.
Its dialogue is clearly intelligible. There aren't too many opportunities for the low-end frequencies to shine though. Directionality is exceptional since there are numerous times where Katie will yell something from just off screen. It's usually a punch line to a gag and it's imperative that you hear it. Good job all around.
- Audio Commentary — Director Jamie Travis is joined by Graynor, Miller, and producer Katie Anne Naylon. There is a great sense of what it's like to shoot an independent film. It's announced at the beginning that the entire movie was shot in 16 days, and throughout the commentary you get the sense of how rushed they felt as a production. They're eager to point out odd specifics in the movie, like extras that unknowingly kill continuity. It's an energetic commentary if you want to give it a listen.
- A Look Inside 'For a Good Time, Call…' (HD, 4 min.) — A promotional look at the movie, with the requisite glossy interviews and a bunch of clips from the movie.
- Deleted Scenes (HD, 4 min.) — There are a handful of deleted scenes included. When watched you can tell that they were cut for pacing reasons. There's a conversation between Katie and Sean (Weber) after a date; a scene between Katie and Lauren in their college days, setting the scene of how different they are; a dildo fight; and Katie working at the nail salon.
This is a perfectly acceptable comedy if you're looking for a few good laughs. It doesn't drag on too long like comedies tend to do nowadays. It follows the tried and true formula for rom-coms, but comes out the other side smiling. With good audio and video, 'For a Good Time, Call…' is recommended viewing for anyone looking for some chuckle-worthy female debauchery.
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