With a touch of 90s comedy, light humor on a serious topic, and lots of familiar faces of people who aren’t stars in the media we know them for, you get GBF.
Review (with Spoilers)
The draw of this movie is pretty much seeing so many familiar faces in one movie. You have Evanna Lynch, from Harry Potter; Sasha Pieterse, from Pretty Little Liars; Xosha Roquemore, who had a part in Precious; JoJo, who sort of faded out after the mid-00s; and then two of MTV’s stars. The first being Molly Tarlov, who plays Sadie on Awkward, and Michael J. Willett who is Shane on Faking It.
Characters & Story
Tanner (Michael J. Willett) and best friend Brent (Paul Iacono) are both closeted teens. Brent, however, plans to come out, if just to because he wants to be the gay best friend to the school’s social queens. Be it Fawcett (Sasha Pieterse) who seemingly is the overall queen of the school; Caprice (Xosha Roquemore) who is the queen of the Drama students, and people of color; or ‘Shley (Andrea Bowen) who is the queen of the conservative and religious kids. All of which have a power balance in the school which allows them to co-exist.
However, what breaks this sort of truce is the potential of a gay best friend. Which, you’d think, would end up being Brent, but thanks the Gay/ Straight Alliance president, Soledad (JoJo) who seemingly is in the club solely to find a gay best friend, Tanner accidently gets outed. For, you see, Brent installs a Grindr-like app on Tanner’s phone so they can find other gay guys in the area. But when those of the GSA use the app to find themselves a gay boy, partly for Soledad’s wishes for a gay best friend, as well as to have an actual gay member in the GSA, they end up finding, and outing, Tanner.
Unfortunately for Soledad though, the three queens quickly go to snatch Tanner up and try to deal with the fact he isn’t their ideal gay guy. He isn’t bitchy, fashion savvy or their ideal Bravo sponsored gay guy. He is a guy who likes comic books, despite never mentioning which, who simply sees himself as a person who likes men. They, however, mostly treat him as an accessory or a sidekick who validates how fabulous they are. Making for a movie which sort of analyzes the issues of coming out, in ideal situations, and dealing with the perceptions a newly out man has to deal with.
I’m going to tread lightly when it comes to praising this film, if only because with every praise comes a criticism. Such as the idea of a movie taking a slightly comedic approach to coming out. Now, this deserves praise for the sake of diversity, for while movies like Pariah and Gun Hill Road certainly have their place when it comes to LGBTQ issues, this doesn’t mean that there can’t be a place to laugh at the craziness which comes from coming out. And, sadly, I think the premise is where the praise ends.
If just because the idea of the film, on paper, is pretty much the best part of the movie. Which isn’t to say the actors are bad in their roles, but just as much as the movie makes a Glee joke, you can kind of see this film as a musical-less Glee. Most of the main characters are slightly amped up stereotypes, and these stereotypes are often played for laughs, and though there is a theme dealing with the accessorizing and issues of being gay, it isn’t played well enough to make you laugh, think, or even in the more serious moments, be touching. It just feels like an indie movie done so that each actor could have another acting credit and keep their name out there.
Overall: Skip It
I would say this is a “TV Viewing” type movie, but when you compare it to other LGBTQ media which isn’t focused on the drama of being homosexual, you can see why comedies aren’t often done. The attempt at trying to have a lighter version of what is a major issue for a lot of people just seems shallow, and while I’m sure it wasn’t meant to be that way, it is hard to argue that this is, in any way, funny. In fact, it is probably a bit offensive and not just when it comes to the topic of being gay, but its attack on Mormons, and then with it incorporating the stereotypical sassy Black girl who gets hardly any character development. Making for a movie which seems to take one step forward and two steps back, while having no saving grace of anything though provoking. Hence why I say this film is better off skipped.