Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Torture Redefined

For a Good Time, Call...       Final Cut Score: 55%

Have you ever sat through one of those open mic nights at a comedy club, the ones where any schmuck can take a shot at stand up? While he or she sweats away on stage, you - the audience - find yourself in that odd zone of uncomfortability, overcome with a sense of awkwardness. Those souls aren't just bombing, they're dying up there.

That's precisely the feeling I had watching For A Good Time, Call... It's an extraordinarily embarrassing experience for all involved, an inexorably laughless affair that would make a potent interrogation tool.

Centered on frenemies from their college days, Katie (Ari Graynor) and Lauren (Lauren Miller) find themselves financially compelled to bury the proverbial hatchet, become roomies or sleep on the streets. So what's a pair of young women trying to stay afloat in Manhattan to do? Open up a sex line, of course.

Apparently, in some Bizarro World that bares no resemblance to the one we actually inhabit, men still call sex lines. With any and every imaginable filthy act just a few keystrokes away on the internet(s), dirty talk is a still a booming business. 1-900-LUDICRO(US).

Initially, it's just Katie on the line getting guys off. But after a new hire goes all "born again", Lauren is forced to shed her demure ways and get her freak on with the clientele via the gals' pink, push-button phone totally swiped off a Mary Kay saleswoman's desk.

In arguably the film's most cringeworthy scene - best of luck picking just one - Seth Rogen (Miller's real life hubby) phones the pair while plopped down on a toilet, moments from piloting a plane. With an endless universe of smut available at his fingertips - on the very device he's speaking into - Rogen wants phone-sex. Time travel is less far-fetched.

Not one moment of the film is funny; how do you fail to create chuckles from smut-talk? Frankly, I haven't felt this much humiliation for a movie - ever. Eradicating it from the annals of my mind can now commence.