Current Weather
The Spy FM

‘For A Good Time’: More (Dirty) Talk, Less Action

Filed by KOSU News in Art & Life.
August 30, 2012

Hot topic du jour, discuss: Do women rule the world?

First the girls took over the schools, with their stellar grades and all. Then they got the lion’s share of the jobs. (Not quite true, but the claim generates Web punditry by the ton.)

Now, it seems, young women are the queens of raunch. According to an Atlantic article hot off the newsstands, the hook-up culture that allegedly runs rampant among the youth of today is driven not by horny frat boys, but by ambitious female college co-eds whose career paths leave no time for anything but quickie one-night stands, or less. This despite the news that teenaged girls are having less sex than at any time since World War II. Or so they say in surveys.

With Bridesmaids and Girls leading the way, pop has been muscling in on that conversation; now comes a gawky, sporadically charming popcorn movie that never shuts up with R-rated sex-prattle, yet also delivers the sly counterclaim that in matters of the libido, talking should not be confused with doing.

Like Bridesmaids, the awkwardly titled For a Good Time, Call … is directed by a man, the relative newcomer Jamie Travis. But it was written, in the scabrous backtalk pioneered by Kristen Wiig et al. and blessed by Judd Apatow, by two women — former college roommates Katie Ann Naylon, who once ran a small phone-sex operation out of her dorm, and Lauren Anne Miller.

Miller — the wife of Seth Rogen, who has a characteristically foul-mouthed cameo — also plays Lauren, a buttoned-up priss who, after being dumped by both boyfriend and boss, finds herself unwillingly shacked up in Manhattan with the potty-mouthed free spirit she hated most in college.

It turns out that Katie, played with fetching pep by Ari Graynor, beefs up her meager nail-salon earnings by fulfilling the fantasies of anonymous horny males from her cellphone. (Among them is one played by Clerks director Kevin Smith.) In no time at all, uptight Lauren figures out a lucrative business model for this amateur operation and succumbs to on-site training in heavy breathing and marital-aid management from the roommate she quickly learns to love.

And there you have it: a sweet, girl’s-own bromance between those stock female archetypes, Strait Lace and Wanton Hussy, with an undercover Christian (Sugar Lyn Beard) sneaking in to bring the customers back to Jesus. Aside from a serviceable Gay Friend (Justin Long) cracking wise in the wings, and a sweet but half-hearted telephone romance involving a nerdy customer (Mark Webber), men are ancillary — even incidental — to a love story between two women.

For all its filthy chatter, the thing you notice about For a Good Time, Call … is that, while a deftly marketed dirty mind can bring home the bacon in a woman-run business, no one is actually having any sex — least of all Katie, who has a secret you can see coming a mile off if you’ve spent any time with a dorm-room loudmouth.

With her tawny lioness eyes and unquenchable exuberance, Graynor makes an enormously appealing Katie, a girl’s girl hovering between Barbra Streisand and Bette Midler, with a bravura touch of Mae West. Beneath all the vamping and the desire to shock, there crouches a frightened little girl who fears she’s a duckling but would dearly love to be a swan.

Katie will spread her wings; it’s that kind of movie. For a Good Time offers itself as a warm-hearted frippery with little more than bonding gal pals on its sunny mind. But I have to ask: Is dirty talk the new chastity, another evasive maneuver in an American movie culture that has always been stuck between prurience and prudery? Have we really come a long way from chick flicks about women expressing friendship by nursing each other though divorce, cancer and other common losses, to movies in which women can only express love through a windy haze of carnal chatter? If so, is this any way to rule the world? [Copyright 2012 National Public Radio]

Leave a Reply

11PM to 5AM The Spy

The Spy

An eclectic mix of the Spy's library of more than 10,000 songs curated by Ferris O'Brien.

Listen Live Now!

5AM to 6AM The Splendid Table

The Splendid Table

Hosted by award-winning Lynne Rossetto Kasper, The Splendid Table is a culinary, culture and lifestyle program that celebrates food and its ability to touch the lives and feed the souls of everyone.

View the program guide!

6AM to 7AM Travel with Rick Steves

Travel with Rick Steves

"Travel with Rick Steves" is a fun, hour-long, and practical talk show with guest experts and calls and questions from travelers. This weekly program is a lively conversation between travelers and the experts as we learn to explore our world smartly, smoothly, and thoughtfully.

View the program guide!

Upcoming Events in your area (Submit your event today!)

Streaming audio and podcasts

Stream KOSU on your smartphone

Phone Streaming

SmartPhone listening options on this page are intended for many iPhones, Blackberries, etc. with low-cost software applications available to listen to our full-time web streams, both News on KOSU-1 and Classical on KOSU-2.

Learn more about our complete range of streaming services

We're perfecting the patient experience - Stillwater Medical Center