For A Good Time, Call had so much promise, at least as a vehicle for Ari Graynor (Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Celeste & Jesse Forever) to get a career jump into A-list comedy roles. The pitch may have sounded like the set-up of a bar joke (“Two girls run a sex line …”), but the concept was rife with possibilities that could synergize with Graynor’s fresh appeal as well as her rising-star status. Neither the possibilities nor the synergy happens, mainly due to an underdeveloped story.
Graynor won’t get a jump, but a maybe a jolt as a result of Focus Features’ 11th-hour marketing blitz.
Graynor’s Katie is essentially the same young Jewish girl in Manhattan she played Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, except now she has to support herself. Grandma left her an apartment, but its rent-controlled status has expired and Katie is desperate for a roommate. Her token gay friend (Justin Long) hooks her up with Lauren (co-writer Lauren Anne Miller), on whom she committed a major party foul several years back. Lauren’s cod-sack boyfriend dumps her, leaving her without a residence. Katie’s stripper pole seems like a bad sign, but Lauren moves in anyway.
Katie’s issues with Lauren are mainly symbolized by hair on the soap, but Lauren is more concerned with the coital sounds coming from Katie’s room. Katie is running a sex line, of course, and after getting over the shock, brainy Lauren quickly comes up with a better way to do business. The plot doesn’t really thicken from there. Katie tries to date a client (Mark Webber), before Lauren gets a career offer that threatens both business and domestic situation. Not a lot goes on to connect the plot points, which is always a danger when the star is executive producer and doesn’t let the story simmer enough before serving. MATT KELEMEN