"“A quite elementary piece of comedy cinema...”"

For a Good Time, Call... is the first feature film for Canadian filmmaker Jamie Travis, following a string of award-winning shorts. However, his first dip into the world of the feature-length film is not necessarily a triumphant one, as his debut feels like a short story itself; a nice idea it may be, but severely padded out, evidently without the legs to last a full 90 minutes.

Lauren (Lauren Miller) and Katie (Ari Graynor) are two single women living in New York, both faced with the upcoming burden of having to move home against their will. Lauren has recently been ditched by her self-indulgent partner, and Katie can't afford to stay at her home unless she finds a new flatmate. So, mutual friend Jesse (Justin Long) takes it upon himself to set the two up, so that Lauren can move in with the outgoing Katie, who makes a living for herself running a sex line from the comfort of her own home. 

The pair had experienced an unfortunate encounter a few years previously whereby Katie had accidentally thrown her own urine all over an unimpressed Lauren. However, they decide to put their differences aside for mere convenience, and soon the unlikeliest of friendships transpires, allowing Lauren to get involved with Katie's risqué vocation, as the aspiring publisher’s redundancy pushes her into the phone sex industry alongside her new best friend.

Travis' female equivalent to a bromance (a fromance?) may feature two young women, but the bulk of the comedy is certainly of a boyish nature, as the gags and general language used are mostly rather vulgar and lewd, heavily featuring toilet humour and sex jokes. Such an approach is justified by Travis due to the use of the vibrant, colourful mise-en-scene: the feature is brightly lit, and the outfits and wall colours so luminous that it gives the film an almost surrealistic feel, like a cartoon. Such a technique is intelligently employed as the cartoon-like approach excuses the vulgarity, and allows for it to seem more harmless and playful, and therefore acceptable. Just take South Park for example; one of the most obscene shows on television, and one that can get away with anything due to being animated.

For a Good Time, Call... is very silly and somewhat inane, although there is certainly a hint that this is tongue-in-cheek. Perhaps I'm blindly trying to find good in this, but it does seem deliberately immoderate in parts. Particularly the case for the character of Katie, who is over-the-top and crude, like an American counterpart to our very own Jay from The Inbetweeners. Meanwhile, there are some amusing cameo performances, as the customers of Katie and Lauren's – including Kevin Smith and Seth Rogen – the latter of which is married to star Miller.

However, the film is mostly irrelevant and the jokes sometimes a little too reliant upon using a crude phrase, or making a random sex noise to provoke laughter, and Travis does struggle to pad this out over the full length of the film. Perhaps the feature would benefit from creating more back story for our two leads, as they move in together so early on it doesn't then allow much room for manoeuvre. The sex line narrative occurs too soon, and there is only so far you can take such a story.

There are positives, but on the whole For a Good Time, Call... is mostly forgettable, in what is a quite elementary piece of comedy cinema. In fact, I'd like to call this darn hotline myself, and ask for my money back.