I was vaguely aware of this movie when it was part of the Sundance 2012 slate but didn’t pay much attention because on paper it didn’t sound like something I would enjoy – a comedy about two roommates in New York City who run a phone sex line to pay rent. The logline seemed to tell me everything I needed to know about the movie.
I was wrong.
When we first meet Lauren (Lauren Miller, who also co-wrote the film) she is the sweet timid girl being dumped by her good-looking-in-a-preppy-way boyfriend. Her kneejerk, earnest attempt to get him to change his mind is a small clue of the humour that lies in store for the rest of the film.
When we first meet Katie (Ari Graynor) she is having a phone conversation while inelegantly sliding down and around a stripper’s pole in the living room of her late grandmother’s fancy New York apartment. The two girls had a brief meeting in college that ended in disaster. But this is New York City and when the going gets tough, sometimes you have to go live with the girl who left a lasting, let’s say impression, when you gave her a lift in your brand new car all those years ago.
The girls are reunited by Jesse, their mutual ‘gay best friend’ elevated from being a movie cliché by Justin Long’s enthusiastic portrayal. So begins what promises to be a life-changing summer for complete opposites Lauren and Katie.
The film’s three strong points are the performances, the writing and the way it looks. Miller is radiant and solid as the proper, polite Lauren and excels at being quietly comedic. Graynor has the trickier job: making the over-the-top, raunchy ‘wild child’ Katie come off as amusing rather than annoying. She is so unrestrained and nimble in her performance that she totally pulls it off without ever becoming a caricature.
The writing is rock solid and in a refreshing change from indie movies these days, keeps the story moving without slacking or meandering. It hits many of the traditional beats and still manages to be full of refreshing key moments and situations that point to a well-considered core story.
As an aside, I dare you to not suppress a laugh the next time a flight delay is announced because they are awaiting the pilot’s arrival. Extra bonus – the film successfully side-steps a major stumbling block for a lot of modern movies – self-awareness. Its subject matter and characters make it ripe for being a self-aware, coy, ‘statement’ of some kind and I have to thank the filmmakers for not going down that route even once.
Verdict: …Good Time… was—after what seems like ages—a really fun time at the movies. I’m going to watch it again.
Advice: Get the DVD now! Word of caution – if you live with other folks you might want to use headphones. The ladies from 1-877-Mmm-Hmmm are not shy with the sound effects. Enjoy.