The female friendship is not a marketable story in Hollywood.
For three years screenwriters Lauren Miller and Katie Anne Naylon shopped their concept to mainstream studios only to be told no, repeatedly. Believing in their script, the two girls made the movie themselves. On Friday, For A Good Time, Call... will hit the big screen with the hopes to dispel the myth that women are not funny, not raunchy and certainly not marketable.
The movie not-so-loosely follows the real life story of Miller and her college roommate, who operated a phone sex line from her dorm room. While there are several aspects of the movie that scream for the male audience, such as a whole bunch of dirty talk and the cameos of Seth Rogen (Super Bad) and Kevin Smith (Jay and Silent Bob, Clerks), at the core of the movie is something women dare to bare: Their vulnerability.
“This is not a documentary on phone sex,” Miller stated. “This is a feel-good friendship story.”
Thanks to the recent success of the movie Bridesmaids, which earned more than $153 million at the box office, chick flicks — sans the codependent male relationship — are starting to find a home in Hollywood. But they still seem to be stuck in that same old formulaic rut: Person A meets Person B, they develop a relationship, they hit some sort of conflict, have a fight and eventually come crying back together.
“There’s something about friendship, I don’t feel like I’m really friends with someone till I get annoyed with them,” said Ari Graynor, who plays Katie. “Because it means that some of the shine has worn off and you actually know somebody for who they are.”
Is this really what illustrates the idea of what friendship is?
For some students, the approach is true to their relationship, for others, such as music freshman Amber Garrison, it couldn’t be further from the truth.
“I haven’t fought with a friend since junior high,” Garrison said.
Physics freshman Brizy Schock recently had a huge fight with her best friend over a small monetary miscommunication.
“It was bad,” she said.
Both girls have secure relationships with their friends, one of them steers clear from drama, the other is a little more passionate. But both girls define friendship similarly. They both believe that your friend will have your back and be there when you need them the most.
It’s all about trust, Desiree Henderson, women’s studies interim director, said.
In its underlying message For A Good Time, Call...is about sisterhood. It shows two self-motivated and strong women coming into their own and showing an accurate view of what female friendship is, but it also gets into the formulaic rut, also seen in Bridesmaids, that woman need to reach some pinnacle moment of drama to solidify a friendship — or end one.
“The films present that type of conflict as this necessary step in the bonding process,” Henderson said. “I hope that’s not the case. Because then it would seem to suggest that we should be fighting with out friends and that’s the true mark of friendship.”
Distinguished psychology professor William Ickes said he does not believe a fight is necessary to validate a friendship, but explained that women are more likely to look for emotional support from their friends.
“They want their friends to validate their feelings,” he said. “To tell them, ‘Yes, I would feel the same way if what happened to you, happened to me.’ ”
And sometimes when that validation is not stressed it can become a make-it-or-break-it moment in a friendship.
“I don’t think the blow up moment is essential,” Ickes said. “But, I think that when it happens it often indicates very clearly: Yes, this is somebody who I can rely on, even when things reach this point.”