For a Good Time, Call… (2012)
Do you remember staying up late watching TV as a kid, only to get flooded with a bevy of phone sex ads every commercial break? While I have no idea if the advancements in internet pornography have kept this once flourishing and proud American job alive, the 2012 For a Good Time, Call… movie is set up in hopes of making a humorous tribute to Lady Operators of the Night.
While it may seem dated, screenwriter and lead actress Lauren Miller wrote this script with her college roommate about experiences they had in college. Miller is the wife of Seth Rogen and is in her first true starring role, as much of her other filmography are bit parts in Rogen movies, such as Moaner and Groaner in Zack and Miri and Girl Employee in Observe and Report. To be fair, she did have bigger roles in the better Rogen movies such as Scarlett in Superbad and Bodie in 50/50 but telling the other parts leads for better conversation.
“I never heard of that movie, who is in it?”
“Did you see Zack and Miri Make a Porno?”
“Yeah, that girl? Miri?”
“No, no. That’s Elizabeth Banks. The girl in this played Moaner and Groaner”
The other lead actress in this film is Ari Graynor, who may be recognizable from bit appearances in pretty recognizable movies ranging from awards-fare like Mystic River to films in the Michael Cera collection like Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist and Youth in Revolt. She did play Eva Destruction in the Drew Barrymore directed roller derby comedy Whip It and was most recently the object of Jonah Hill’s lust in the better-than-I-initially-expected-but-if-I-rewatch-I-may-think-less-of The Sitter.
While the movie focuses on these girls, and we will get into the movie itself, it appears Justin Long is thrown in as a gay guy. You know, because people liked it in The Break-Up.
The movie itself starts with some awkward sex noises as we get introduced to Lauren (Lauren Miller). Within the first two minutes, her boyfriend says his job will take him to Italy and their two-year relationship is too dull. Promises of a bathroom BJ are not enough and we find Lauren’s douchey-white bread boyfriend is leaving her on the street, with nowhere to live.
Immediately, we find out Katie (Ari Graynor) is a free spirit because she pole dances for exercise. She gets a phone call from bitchy, gay Justin Long. So we know everyone. Right away, Katie’s landlord is touring her apartment. She has been living there since her grandma died but has not been making rent since the rent control living was taken away. Everything established within the first few minutes and I see the lady from My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Mimi Rogers are in this thank to the credits. So much excitement before the phone sex starts!
After the montage of New York over 80s music, Justin Long is helping Lauren pack. He has a character name but it isn’t important, we now know he knows both girls. Justin eats some scenery telling us how boring Lauren’s newly ex-boyfriend is before buttering her up saying she is the best like “a subway gift card”. I know they are in New York but I just get the feeling this character loves foot longs.
Justin calls himself Uncle Jesse, so the shades of Stamos wants me to call him by character name now, even if he is never referred to as “Uncle” again. We quickly see Lauren arrive where Jesse suggests she live and Katie and Lauren meet, identifying that they knew each other and dislike it. Insert flashback where uptight, Felicity-watching Lauren is forced to meet and drive home a drunk Katie at a college party. Despite being told the car is a graduation present, Katie pees in a cup. The urine of course spills and Lauren leaves Katie in a bad area. So they hate each other but years later due to circumstances, need to become roommates (and soon enough phone sexers).
Justin really sells us on his Uncle Jesse being gay because he flamboyantly talks Lauren into getting along by moving into a dead old lady’s room. The girls really decide to give it a try after a pep-talk over décor. Just like real-life.
As Lauren gets settled, she hears some moaning and groaning out of Katie’s room. Knowing that was her role in another movie, she goes away. The next morning, she confronts Katie during awkward restroom time showing more cattiness.
The toilet gag segues right into a scene where Lauren is told they have to let her go at her good job and we find out Mimi Rogers is her mother when she gives her parents the “everything is great” call.
I feel like this write-up in going into ADD ode because every scene so far, outside of the Justin Long ones, are about a minute long. We went right from the two quick hits on Lauren to Katie discovering hair on soap, right to Lauren calling her ex’s voice mail into Katie speaking (what I think is) Vietnamese inside a nail shop. All in about a minute.
That night at home, Katie is shouting about some guy’s dick and being trapped in a cave. Lauren discovers she is just jumping on a bed, when she says some dirty thing to end the call. The big reveal comes out that among the several day jobs Katie has, she has been working as a phone sex operator after finding an ad in the Village Voice years back. Stuck on her break-up, Lauren asks how it works. Katie essentially says listen to what the men talk about and say “she wants to lick it”. As she mentions she gets a buck a minute but goes over on her phone minutes, business professional Lauren points out a smarter business strategy to get more out of phone sexing. If Lauren helps Katie build this company in a money-making way, she will lop money off of her rent.
We get a glimpse into Katie’s 10:00 PM regular. Katie begins genuinely flirting and we see a connection as this guy whimsically reflects when she caused him to “jizz all over his coffee table”. If only Hepburn was alive to play this role.
Katie is rejected from a job and the hiring manager slips in a joke about people with Downs Syndrome before another quick jump to Lauren helping Katie set up her sex line. New equipment, coming up with a 1-900 that lures customers – 1-900-MMM-HMMM. For a good time call.
We are shown the call volume comes so high that Katie is needed to route calls over. Right after we find out she is so successful she isn’t showing up to the nail shop, my life is complete seeing Kevin Smith jerk off in a car.
If that wasn’t disturbing enough, we find out he was a cabbie with a fare in his car! Oh, Silent Bob!
Lauren shows off business acumen, making the company a limited liability company and taking care of Katie’s voice. They decide it is time to bring in a new worker and some brunette shows up that has a voice comparable to Kristin Chenoweth. She makes baby voices, really pushing the pedo line, which our leads put a kibosh on, before going to do some childish routines of her own on Katie’s stripper pole.
During a heated afternoon session, Lauren’s parents show up and do not understand the noises or the stripper pole.
Their new hire starts taking the calls and does some really bizarre talks, such as telling a guy to untie his shoes and use the laces on his balls. After a lot of awkward moments, our leads hear her start damning the callers telling them that Jesus will find them. We get a big reveal that she had a cross on under her shirt and is doing the work of Jesus. As Katie gets rid of the person sabotaging their business, Lauren picks up a phone to hear a man release immediately and is convinced she should do the calls now as well.
This leads to a training montage that I think is supposed to be funny and shows that Justin Long can’t get hold of either of them now!
As Katie has another romantic call with her dream caller, Lauren gets her first call: a three-way request.
As they introduce themselves as Kitty and Catty, we find out their caller in Seth Rogen, who is a masturbating pilot. He does have standards though. When asking what kind of panties they are wearing, he is appalled at the response of none.
The two continue to bond, which makes Justin Long upset until he finds out that they are “living the American Dream” in his own words, by running a phone sex line. He is very upset he cannot be part of the team.
Katie’s phone lover proposes a meeting and tells “Shoquanda” how excited he is to meet. She goes to brag to Lauren, who is finally not boring because she had clearly been fingering herself during the most recent call. As I type this review, I really wish I had done it earlier, to share it with my grandmother for Mother’s Day. This is a movie empowering women, especially when Lauren gives Katie some “Rape Prevention Pantyhose”.
We get a magical meeting at the bar, where Katie is not allowed to look because this guy only calls in due to his anxiety. This is all rather dull until Katie comes home to find Lauren recording moans into a keyboard. Katie is upset and starts giving an upsetting talk about periods and genital warts which is where she reveals things got awkward because she is truly still a virgin. All the school slut stories were all talk, just like what she does for money now!
Lauren gives a great pep talk about when Tina Fey lost her virginity and love and sweet moments which led up to Lauren bringing forth a basket of dildos. The big black one is named Earl!
As her man had mentioned his love for film before, he helps the girls film a commercial in a bathtub for another 30-second scene that I am starting to imagine made this movie extremely tedious to film.
We get another moment of a million things at once – Katie sets up for a celebration party for the commercial launch, while Lauren goes to an interview for the job from earlier (and is being told by the boss that she needs to take the job). This would be standard enough but now Lauren’s parents show up to add to the madness. The dildos are on the table for a bachelorette party, Mom-I Rogers!
Lauren accepts the job and Katie feels betrayed, so she shows the parents the commercial. Oh no! Now they aren’t besties anymore!
Fights happen, Katie kicks out Lauren, poor timing entrance by Justin Long and the next thing we see is a depressed Katie having phone sex with a lady prisoner. As Katie is berated by the customer, we see Katie’s stuff being taken from the apartment. She’s sad. Lauren is sitting at her desk, she’s sad too. She has guaranteed money and health insurance but sad she ain’t phone banging.
The monotony of all the characters separate lives is broken up by Justin Long singing Lion King songs to his dog. Katie finally gives in to having sex with the guy she met on the phone and they are about to get to business, we cut to Katie listening to her ex sharing his Italy experiences. We go back and forth between Katie and her lover trying to find comfort in each and Lauren’s ex deciding it was time to get back together. He reveals that in Italy he had a lover who was too intense and he wants Lauren’s simple nature back. As Lauren stands up for herself, we see Katie has finally been penetrated. Her penetration lets her realize she needs Lauren back. Her boyfriend gives her permission to hop off and call. Movie magic.
The two are on the phone running to each other and sounding like they are making sex calls and hug and happy and movie end.
Overall, I’m not sure what to say on this movie. I didn’t want to give the whole movie away in this but every scene (and the movie itself) is so short, it jumps all over the place. It wasn’t as funny as I expected, it wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been. It was just kind of there, which is probably fitting for the fact I rented it months ago and just watched it now.