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Phone-sex comedy ‘For a Good Time, Call …’ tries too hard

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Girl talk: Miller (left) and Graynor prepare for their next client.

The Details

For a Good Time, Call ...
Two and a half stars
Lauren Anne Miller, Ari Graynor, Justin Long
Directed by Jamie Travis
Rated R. Opens Friday.
Beyond the Weekly
Official Movie Site
IMDb: For a Good Time, Call ...
Rotten Tomatoes: For a Good Time, Call ...

The lesson that Hollywood studios seem to have learned from the success of Bridesmaids is that women can be just as raunchy as men, but raunchiness alone is not enough to make for a good movie. For a Good Time, Call ... features plenty of vulgarity from the mouths of its two female leads, New York City roommates Lauren (Lauren Anne Miller) and Katie (Ari Graynor), but it doesn’t have the strong emotional core and genuine relationship dynamics that were just as important to Bridesmaids as the dirty jokes.

Uptight Lauren needs a new place to live after being dumped by her douchebag boyfriend, and free-spirited Katie needs a new roommate so she won’t lose the massive apartment she inherited from her grandmother. So their mutual gay best friend (Justin Long, overdoing it) suggests that they move in together, despite a decade-old incident that drove them to hate each other. Soon they’ve become BFFs and are partnering on a phone-sex line, which helps Lauren loosen up and helps Katie connect with the emotions masked by her bravado.

Miller (who also co-wrote the screenplay) and Graynor give spirited performances, but the problem with Good Time is that it consistently tries too hard, one-upping itself with mostly unfunny vulgarity while paying little attention to plot or believable character development. Lauren and Katie’s relationship follows a basic romantic-comedy template, and the predictable arc lacks any emotional impact. There are a handful of decent lines and a few sweet moments, but mostly Good Time is like many male-centered comedies, prizing vulgarity over cleverness.

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