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MOVIE REVIEW: 'For a Good Time, Call ...' proves short, sweet

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Special Photo: From left, Ari Graynor, Justin Long and Lauren Miller in a scene from "For A Good Time, Call."

For A Good Time, Call ...

(R)

3 out of 4 stars

The only big problem with the concept of "For a Good Time, Call ..." is that it's about 10 years too late. With the expansion of the Internet and the proliferation of adult-only websites, there's not much of a demand for phone sex anymore, a point completely and joyfully ignored by the filmmakers.

An odd hybrid of "Bridesmaids" and Spike Lee's vastly underrated "Girl 6," by way of the TV version of "Sex and the City," "For a Good Time, Call ..." is indeed a comic rarity: a chick bonding flick steeped heavily in raunchy profanity. In addition, the two leads are women who are not lesbians but are romantically connected. Call it the female version of a bromance.

About to lose her Manhattan rent-control apartment, Katie (Ari Graynor) is talked into taking on a roommate by her gay BFF Jesse (Justin Long in prime scene-stealing mode). She would be Lauren (co-writer Lauren Miller, also the wife of Seth Rogen) and neither girl knows the identity of the other until they meet. Make that reunite -- and in a bad way.

A decade earlier they became quasi-mortal enemies in college after an incident involving a spilled cup of a bodily fluid. Lauren has just recently lost her job and was jettisoned by her snake of a boyfriend from their digs. Lauren's only other option is moving in with her parents and she, like Katy, realizes they must bite the bullet and make the best of an unappetizing situation.

Squabbling over this, that and the other for 30 solid minutes, the tense air starts to dissipate a bit after Lauren overhears Katy talking dirty on the phone. Katy's making relative chump change as a sub-contractor for a 900-phone number outfit and being the astute business woman she still aspires to be, Lauren suggests Katy go to work for herself. Recognizing Katy could never pull this off on her own, Lauren agrees to handle all of the non-performance details -- in exchange for half of the profits.

In no time flat the business becomes a major cash cow and the girls get so busy they have to hire another operator. Without much hesitation they mutually agree it should be Krissy (Sugar Lyn Beard), a petite brunette whose specialties are sounding like a teenager -- and lying through her teeth. As with Long, Beard commits major theft with just two brief appearances.

Co-writer Katie Ann Naylon and Miller -- obviously influenced by Rogen (who has a side-splitting cameo) -- don't hold back with any of the dialogue or situations; everything is off-color, deep-blue and leaves little to the imagination. It's also the most guy-friendly chick flick since ... well "Bridesmaids" and if a man -- one who isn't easily offended -- is goaded into seeing it with his open-minded girlfriend, he'll have more than enough fun.

As with any romantic comedy, there is the obligatory 11th hour crisis that causes a huge rift between the leads and just how it finally gets resolved here is kind of sappy and unimaginative. It's the 15-minute commercial concession that takes some of the luster off and wind out of the build-up that proudly waved its indie/art-house flag. Like the screenwriters, first time feature director Jamie Travis gets most of it right, keeps everything short and sweet and has more than earned his rookie wings. (Focus Features)