Even when it is enthusiastically diving into hilarious filth, director Jamie Travis' female-relationship comedy “For a Good Time, Call ...” feels like its nastiness is grafted on, that underneath all of its outer trappings of post-“Bridesmaids” brazenness, this could be a “Felicity” episode. Well, only if Felicity were running a phone-sex line.
During college, Lauren (co-screenwriter Lauren Miller) was a demure earth child whose run-in with campus wild child Katie (Ari Graynor, “Celeste and Jesse Forever”) is forever burned on her brain. A decade later, Lauren experiences a terrible breakup with slick and bland Charlie (James Wolk) and needs an apartment — fast. Thanks to longtime buddy Jesse (Justin Long), she finds out about a posh Gramercy Park brownstone, which is great, except it comes with the roommate of Lauren's nightmares.
Katie is loud in most ways, but in her moonlighting job as a phone-sex operator, she is loud and paid for the privilege. Lauren's attempts to secure a job at a publishing house run by blase editor Rachel (played in a cameo performance by Nia Vardalos) prove unsuccessful, and soon Lauren is lured into the business of making pleasurable sounds for fun and profit.
The idea of a phone-sex comedy feels like a mid-1990s concept, slightly quaint in view of the bold and nasty outer frontiers of streaming video, Chatroulette and everything else that can give its cyber-users unwanted viruses. But this antiquated setup fits “For a Good Time, Call ...,” because at its heart, this is a comedy about how female friendships are made and maintained. Fall down the icky rabbit hole of more modern hookups, and the comedy would lose the charming innocence that thrives under the veneer of in-your-face sex talk.
‘For a Good Time, Call ...'
Starring: Lauren Miller, Ari Graynor, Seth Rogen, Justin Long, Mimi Rogers, Ari Graynor, Nia Vardalos.
(Strong sexual content throughout, language and some drug use)