I've already talked about the Bridesmaids effect as it pertains to the influx of R-rated, female-driven content at this year's Sundance festival, but you don't really get a feel for how refreshing it is to see this type of content until you settle in for a film like For A Good Time Call ..., a hilariously filthy sex comedy from newbie screenwriters Lauren Miller and Katie Ann Naylon and first-time feature director Jamie Travis.
Ari Graynor and Lauren Miller star as Katie and Lauren, two girls who hate each other because of an incident back in college, but are forced to become roommates by their mutual friend (Justin Long) so each has a place to live. It's not long after that the duo -- in an effort to pay their rent -- launch a phone-sex operation that just takes off. Tack on a few perfectly-timed cameos from familiar faces calling into the phone sex line, a gut-busting, scene-stealing performance from Justin Long and some tremendous chemistry on the part of Graynor and Miller, and you have what's probably the best R-rated comedy this festival has to offer in 2012.
And it's not just funny because it's absolutely filthy. Okay, yes, it's funny because it's absolutely filthy in every conceivable way, but they work that filth like a joke that's dissected and pieced back together in several different forms. This is smart filth; this is a comedy that yanks our insecurities about sex out of the corner closet and forces them to dance in front of thousands. It's female writers and female stars out-filthing even The Hangover, proving that, heck yeah -- girls can get just as dirty as the guys, and in some cases even dirtier. And the best part of all this filth is that there's absolutely no nudity. None. It'll probably go down as the dirtiest film you ever see that doesn't include any nudity, save for a bra-and-panty shot here and there.
But that's what makes it so special. For A Good Time Call ... uses its filth as a way to connect the audience to the characters and the characters to one another instead of fighting for cheap laughs or sight gags. When else can you say that a film's most poignant, heartfelt moment comes during a phone-sex threesome? Or that girls bonding over giant vibrating male penises would make you giggle and tug at your heartstrings? It's actually pretty brilliant comedy from a team of collaborators (including a director who considers himself a perfectionist) who worked their damn asses off to get every single second of this movie right.
And aside from being another giant step forward in the female-driven comedies movement, the film is also a fantastic stage for Ari Graynor to prove to Hollywood that she deserves more than the second, third and fourth lead. This is a girl who absolutely kills as the slutty-mouth-with-a-heart-of-gold, and it's roles like this that should earn her more leading parts. Miller is also a delightful surprise, adding a bunch of sweet to Graynor's sass.
To put it bluntly: This is independent comedy at its best from a crop of up-and-coming talent you might not be familiar with yet, but you will be soon. Wildly crass, and yet sweet as an apple pie, it's the kind of discovery that makes you fall in love with the genre all over its face again, and again ... and again.