Dir: Jamie Travis. US. 2012. 90mins
Raunchy-sweet female comedy For a Good Time, Call… has indie credentials but a mainstream sensibility that produces a steady supply of reliably funny moments. Though a Bridesmaids-sized gross is unlikely, this platonic rom-com should work well enough with the Bridesmaids audience to justify the $2m-plus that Focus Features reportedly paid at Sundance for worldwide rights.
The film sometimes betrays its indie origins through sparse settings and a lack of atmospheric New York locations.
Among the challenges Focus will face when it gives the film a limited US launch on Aug 31 - and a subsequent international roll out - will be attracting a core female audience without the help of star names and overcoming likely resistance from some male moviegoers.
Written, as their first produced feature script, by Katie Anne Naylon and co-star Lauren Anne Miller (previously seen in Superbad and other comedies), the film plays like a female bromance between reserved careerist Lauren (Miller) and ballsy free spirit Katie (Ari Graynor, from Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist).
Pushed together by mutual gay friend Jesse (Justin Long, from He’s Just Not That Into You) so they can share the rent on a desirable New York apartment, Lauren and Katie start a phone sex business which at first brings them together but later threatens their budding friendship.
First time feature director Jamie Travis (known in the art world for his experimental short films) lets Graynor - who resembles and sometimes seems to be channelling Bette Midler - and Miller (who occasionally brings Shelley Long to mind) dominate the screen. The two leads get able support from Long and there are funny cameos from Seth Rogan, Kevin Smith and Nia Vardalos.
The raunch is almost entirely verbal and outside of the dirty talk the comedy is actually fairly understated. The serious drama in the familiar rom-com third act is less effective.
The film sometimes betrays its indie origins through sparse settings and a lack of atmospheric New York locations, producing a sitcom feel that may be something of a liability in the theatrical marketplace.
Production companies: AdScott Pictures, Anne In The Middle, Principal Entertainment, Nasser Entertainment Group
Worldwide distribution: Focus Features
Producers: Katie Anne Naylon, Lauren Anne Miller, Josh Kesselman, Jen Weinbaum, Jenny Hinkley
Executive producers: Daniel M Miller, Ari Graynor, Joe Nasser, Jack Nasser
Screenplay: Katie Anne Naylon and Lauren Anne Miller
Director of photography: James Laxton
Production designer: Sue Tebbutt
Editor: Evan Henke
Costume designer: Maya Lieberman
Music: John Swihart
Main cast: Ari Graynor, Lauren Anne Miller, James Wolk, Nia Vardalos, Mark Webber, Justin Long