Ari Graynor, in the comedy “For a Good Time, Call ...,” has the brassy energy of a young Bette Midler; she sashays through the film as if it just might turn into a musical at any moment. Pity it doesn’t; we, and Graynor, might have had a little more fun.
Graynor plays Katie, the free-spirited type, opposite Lauren Anne Miller as Lauren, the uptight type. Lauren moves into Katie’s New York apartment after breaking up with her boring boyfriend (James Wolk), but she and Katie are opposites: Lauren is tidy and Katie leaves hair on the soap; Lauren dresses like a good girl while Katie dresses like a very young Blanche Devereaux of “Golden Girls”; Lauren is brunette and Katie is blond ... honestly, you’d think nobody associated with this movie had ever seen a roommate sitcom before.
After a lot of predictable sweet-meets-sour banter, we get down to the real plot: Katie, as Lauren learns, works as a phone-sex operator, and Lauren quickly figures out how to use her business expertise in a new industry.
At its heart “For a Good Time, Call ...” is a sweet-natured tale of friendship, but it’s so cluttered up with raunchy-for-raunchy’s-sake dialogue, standard-issue sidekicks and inexplicable behavior (why would Lauren so dramatically burn her bridges in a job interview late in the film?) that it eventually wears out its welcome.
Despite some laughs, most of them courtesy of Graynor (she’s got a funny, arch way with dialogue, as if she were doing an impression of somebody and forgot to stop), it feels like a movie you’ve seen already — and it was better the first time around.