“Rule #1: Never let them hear you fart.”

Let's cut right to the chase: This is a chick flick about phone sex. As such, there are a thousand ways it could collapse into a gimmicky pile of suck—but it doesn't, thanks to a fairly hilarious script and the charisma of the film's relatively unknown leading ladies.

Lauren (played by the film's cowriter, Lauren Miller) is a buttoned-up twentysomething with big dreams of working in the New York publishing industry. In the meantime, she works as a filing clerk by day and as a doormat for her bland, vaguely repulsive boyfriend by night. When both her boss and her boyfriend unceremoniously dump her, Lauren is forced to move in with her former college nemesis, Katie (Ari Graynor), to save money on rent.

Echoing the Odd Couple, Katie is Lauren's antithesis—a loud, animal-print-wearing blond who makes a modest living as a part-time phone-sex operator. Desperate for a job, Lauren convinces Katie to cut out the middleman and the two launch their own phone-sex hotline. Katie continues panting into the receiver for lonely dudes, Lauren handles the billing, and as their tentative friendship and business bloom, the pair begins rubbing off on each other (har-har).

Support The Stranger

The film has its snags. The drama feels too manufactured in places, as if the script simply reads "INSERT TENSION HERE" or "OMG, TWIST!" And the minor characters that waltz across the screen are perfunctory stereotypes, from Justin Long's lisping role as the gay best friend to a robotically dickish boyfriend and a fire-and-brimstone Christian. It's disappointing (although unsurprising for a chick-flick comedy) and can likely be chalked up to young writers relying on familiar tropes while nailing down their strengths. And bless the boner-loving Lord, one of their strengths is dialogue. The film's phone-sex scenes—which feature fun cameos—are explicit and uncomfortable, and they smartly contrast with the film's perfunctory romantic undertones. "Whatever they say, I just tell them I wanna lick it," Katie dismissively explains of her clients.

Echoing the autobiographical origins of the buddy comedy Superbad, Miller (who, incidentally, is married to Seth Rogen) cowrote For a Good Time with her former college roommate Katie Anne Naylon, who actually worked for a phone-sex company her freshman year. Because the sex scenes are written by women and mostly for women, they're at once empowering (hurrah for a healthy portrayal of sex workers!) and charmingly repulsive—like watching your grandmother knit a cozy for your vibrator. And even as the plot revolves around the intimate freak show of getting strangers off with nothing but the strength of your imagination and the power of your moans, at its core, the film succeeds as a ladies' love story, an homage to great friendships in the vein of Thelma and Louise, minus the suicide pact. recommended