The big story from 2011 was how much Bridesmaids opened the door much wider for comedic women to not just be as funny as men, but just as raunchy. For A Good Time, Call… proves women have gladly walked through that door in order to get movies made with comedic sensibilities that, up until the Oscar® nominated Bridesmaids, only men had really gotten away with on film.
“We saw what Judd Apatow and others were doing, how successful those “bromance” comedies were,” says Katie Anne Naylon, who penned the script with star and college friend, Lauren Miller, who knows a thing or two about those movies being the wife of Apatow regular Seth Rogen. ”It did seem like there was a gap there, but we weren’t necessarily trying to fill it. What we were trying to do was write something irreverent and fresh; we didn’t think of it so much as a female-driven comedy, which it is, but as a twist on a romantic comedy – with the romance being a friendship between two women.”
The difference in the gender styles with over-the-line comedy can definitely be seen in this movie, which also stars Ari Graynor (Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist). Instead of a more “go for the laughs” sort of bonehead dude character we’re used to seeing from men, the women bring a more grounded approach along with the sex driven jokes.
“The thing about our movie is, it’s raunchy but it’s also sweet,” says Graynor.
“I feel that women who watch movies don’t see enough stories about real women,” adds Miller. ”Katie Ann Naylon and I wanted to tell a story of female friendship. Phone sex was a setting we could tell that in. It could be funny, and have truth to it.”
The truth comes from Naylon’s actual experience running a phone-sex hotline while a student at Florida State University, along with a few other anecdotes from the writing duo’s long friendship together.
“I worked for a phone-sex company my freshman year in college, in my dorm room with another friend of mine,” says Naylon. ”It was hard to get parking on and off-campus, and I needed a job, and I didn’t have enough student loans. So, working from the phone seemed smart, and doing phone-sex seemed super-smart – and it could be something to talk about at parties. My friend and I had the brilliant idea, since we weren’t making very much money at it, to cut out the middleman and start our own line. It was lucrative, but I was a freshman and had to go to class – and I was very tired all the time, from the night business and the phone always ringing. So I quit that after a semester.”
Naylon moved in with Miller soon after and revealed her past to the film student. And while it’s certainly inspired by the real phone-sex gig Naylon operated, along with certain stories from their lives, Naylon says For A Good Time, Call… is by no means autobiographical.
“The names are the same, so there are facets of Lauren & Katie’s real personalities and stories in there,” adds Graynor, who also serves as Executive Producer. ”But it’s not a biopic of the two of them. [Laughs] Even though Katie likes to joke that it is.”
In the film, the big screen versions of Katie (Graynor) and Lauren (Miller) are polar opposites whose first meeting should be their last. But 10 years later, both girls’ financial situations lead them to become roommates in order to keep a roof over their heads in New York City. Discovering Katie’s “job” she’s running out of the apartment, Lauren’s business sense kicks into gear and the two form a partnership to build a very successful phone-sex hotline.
The movie has screened at festivals throughout the year, including Sundance, and has received positive responses from men in the audience who are usually dedicated to The Hangover-esque type movies.
“I’d say I’m a little surprised too by the male response,” adds Naylon. “We knew that, because it was about sex, guys would laugh. I talked to so many guys after the Ann Arbor screening who thought the movie was hysterical. But they realized it’s not catering to them, because it has some emotional moments. So it’s something they haven’t seen.”
“There’s something in it for everybody,” says Graynor. ” To me, one of the gifts of cinema is to be able to forget about life for an hour and a half. Seeing a movie that is fun – those are the movies that I like to play over and over again when I’m laying in bed before I fall asleep, or on a rainy Saturday. I want people to go and laugh and then leave the theater feeling great, feeling happier than when they came in.”
Gerrad Hall (The Seven Sees) sat down with the two stars, Graynor and Miller, for a little dirty talk about For A Good Time, Call…