It's easy to look at "For a Good Time Call . . . " as a disciple of last summer's blockbuster "Bridesmaids." Both are bawdy romps putting female friendship on par with romantic love. But "Good Time" is a smaller story, buoyed not by slapstick and gross-out, but by quieter moments that are no less dirty than watching Melissa McCarthy poop in a sink.
There's nothing new here about the characters or the basic arc: Uptight Lauren (co-writer Lauren Anne Miller) is forced to move into the outrageously gorgeous apartment of her college nemesis, the effervescent Katie (Ari Gaynor), after her longtime boyfriend (James Wolk) walks out. Katie's main source of income is generated by ah-ing and uh-uh-uhhhing her way as a phone sex operator. In need of a job, Lauren agrees to help with the business operations, eventually taking the plunge and picking up the phone herself, helping Katie service clientele like director Kevin Smith, Seth Rogen (Miller's real-life husband) and the Philly-born Mark Webber.
The standard rom-com tropes follow: the courting period, the honeymoon, the misunderstanding that throws everything out of wack. "Good Time" is a shallow movie with nothing new besides than the exalatation of the bonds of female friendship.
As shallow as it is, it still worked as a short and sweet love story, thanks to Gaynor and Miller, who play their parts fast, loose and fun. It's not sex that's played for laughs, so much as the idea of fake sex. They may make jokes about how they are sluts, but the script never judges them for it.
Miller, who has never carried a movie before, feels tentative but her staight-woman void is necessary when she's playing against Gaynor, a natural scene-stealer, whose joy and energy permeate the movie.
Contact Molly Eichel at firstname.lastname@example.org or 215-854-5909. Follow her on Twitter @mollyeichel.