A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that For a Good Time, Call... is a comedy about female friends who team up to create a successful phone sex business. Language ("s--t," "f--k," and much more) and sex are the biggest issues; though the movie doesn't show too much, there's very heavy sexual innuendo. As the main characters speak to customers, they use strong language and pretend to be sexually aroused, even though viewers can see they're only acting. There are suggestions of men masturbating, though nothing explicit is shown. Characters argue from time to time, but otherwise, the mood is light and funny, and there are actually positive themes about friendship and teamwork floating around underneath all of the crude stuff.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
When they were first introduced to each other at a party, laid-back Katie (Ari Graynor) and high-strung perfectionist Lauren (Lauren Anne Miller) instantly clashed and became enemies. Now Lauren is newly single and Katie's rent has been raised, so their mutual best friend, Jesse (Justin Long), matches them up as roommates. It's a disaster ... until Lauren discovers Katie's side job as a phone sex operator. Lauren suggests ways to improve her earnings, and before long they've turned it into a successful business. At the same time, their friendship grows ever stronger. But how long can they sustain this good fortune before the other shoe drops?
Is it any good?
Making his feature debut, director Jamie Travis is content to keep FOR A GOOD TIME, CALL... at a sitcom level, set in a squeaky-clean, good-natured New York. The potentially adult material is pitched at a goofy, warm level rather than depraved (for example, a joke about a baby-voiced operator is diffused before it gets disgusting). And the two leads, though a typical Hollywood mismatch, are genuinely engaging.
While they're together in their apartment, the movie clicks, but whenever outside elements come in -- such as a customer turning into a love interest for Katie or Lauren's meddling parents visiting at all the wrong times -- the movie gets clunky and ridiculous. Additionally, silly cameos by people like Kevin Smith and Seth Rogen as sex line customers seem like needless filler. Still, co-star Miller (Rogen's real-life wife), who co-wrote the screenplay with Katie Anne Naylon, is to be commended for her attempt at girl power; hopefully her future endeavors can be a bit more daring.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about For a Good Time, Call...'s sexual content. Does it seem lewd or depraved or funny? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values regarding sex and relationships.
Can the main characters be considered role models for starting their own business?
Before becoming friends, the main characters held a grudge for a long time based on an initial bad meeting. Do first impressions count that much? Is it possible to become friends with someone after a bad start?
- In theaters: August 31, 2012
- On DVD or streaming: January 22, 2013
- Cast: Ari Graynor, Justin Long, Lauren Anne Miller
- Director: Jamie Travis
- Studio: Focus Features
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 85 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong sexual content throughout, language and some drug use
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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