“Free sex is the most expensive kind”-(Insert Some Wise Man’s Name)
I realized while scrolling through my On Demand that based on the synopsis alone, the odds of this 2012 movie blowing harder than a DUI suspect were good; like betting on the Leafs not making it to post-season good: Two roommates (Ari Graynor and Lauren Miller) who are polar opposites start a sex hotline together. That’s it, that’s all you need to know really. There is so much room for annoying roommate fights, lame pratfalls and glaring objectification. A film that leans so heavily on two lead actresses who haven’t quite burst through the collectively adored bubble also runs the risk of me not wanting to watch the rest even if I hadn’t finished my beverage, let alone connecting with the leads. Fortunately, For a Good Time stands on its own and may be the best female buddy comedy to come along in a while (forget about Bridesmaids for a minute please).
Graynor (the drunk from Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist) and Miller (who is also the film’s co-writer) have outstanding chemistry, so much so that what could have been a really lame rom-com with weak actresses becomes a love story about two best friends. Sure, there are guys — some of whom they fall for, some of whom they don’t — but the way these women find happiness is through female friendship, and best of all making shit loads of monies by being oral prostitutes (not the kind your thinking of you horn-dog) Watching this journey was by far the most satisfying part of For a Good Time; the journey of entrepreneurship. What’s better is that every part of their relationship is grounded in reality, so even though the film is about starting a phone sex business, these college-educated women are smart enough to register as a legitimate LLC and not get scammed by any clientele, making you feel a whole lot better about women in power positions after a year of watching MacKenzie mess up just about everything on The Newsroom. And best of all, to a person who still thinks it’s exciting when a movie passes the Bechdel Test (The Bechdel test asks whether a work of fiction features at least two women who talk to each other about something other than a man), this film scores a pass.
Many contemporary works fail this test of gender bias. Katie (Graynor) and Lauren (Miller) are in charge of their own sexuality, and are by no means ashamed of the fact that they make their money by being phone sex operators -they know it’s ridiculous that they’re running a phone sex line, after all, but they’re as comfortable in their sexuality as they are in their cushy New York City apartment. For this I applaud them. After all, sex sells and prostitution (in any form) is the oldest profession for a reason, and will always be. There is prostitution all around us, both illegal and legal. Whether it’s in traditional forms of dating, relationships or straight up giving H and BJ’s behind your local 7-11 for legal tender; it’s there, you just have to open your eyes wider. There is nothing wrong about it of course, because that is our world and the characters in this movie understand that, and are smart enough to exploit it.
In its fixed 80-minute screen-time, For a Good Time is also packed with hilarious gross-out humor, none of which involves women defecating themselves, fortunately. Actually, in an excellent turn of events, some of the nastiest and most humiliating bits of the movie are at the expense of the cameos from a few extremely funny men. Seeing which beloved male comedians pop by the movie in the form of paying customers to the ladies’ hotline is half of the fun, and I wouldn’t want to spoil that for you (My favorite was the Airline Pilot). Some credit should also be given to Justin Long, as the guy friend who brings Katie and Lauren together in the first place. The first act of the movie demands a lot from his character, as he needs to sell you the set-up of two previous enemies living together, and he doesn’t quite hit his marks in my view. However, once the plot gets rolling and the women take the front seat, his role as a supporting character becomes considerably more agreeable.
And that should serve as an ultimate warning sign for this film: Give this movie at least a half hour of mental foreplay until you decide to call me crazy for wasting a precious review. It takes a bit to warm up to For a Good Time, but like all of the girls’ clients, you’ll get there.So if you are in the mood for a quickie in terms of laughs or are looking for a film that deals with women, sex and money in positive way, I suggest you not work-out tonight at your local Goodlife and sit your beautiful ass down on your couch and laugh with two women trying to survive in America during a jobless economic recovery (it’s an oxymoron I know, but tell that to Congress and Obama)