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G.B.F. - Cinemaholic Movie Reviews
one person's obsessive addiction to film
Directing: B-
Acting: B
Writing: B-
Cinematography: B
Editing: B-

G.B.F. is the perfect movie . . . for your gay 12-year-old. It would find a nice, comfy home on the Lifetime Channel or maybe as a TV series for tweens -- say, gay-alt programming alongside something like Hannah Montana. It's also very much like way too many other "gay themed" movies that are low-budget, low-profile, and low on subtlety. Have I mentioned how much I pine for a high-caliber mainstream movie with gay people as its primary characters? We need a non-tragic, new Brokeback Mountain.

But, I guess you can't have everything. I'll give G.B.F. a V for "Valiant Effort." Especially considering the dialogue it has to work with.

Once you get past the cheeseball, contrived dialogue, though, G.B.F. has a surprising lot going for it. It deals with stereotypes in playful ways, is generally fun, and manages not to be offensive in any way. (Well, unless you count conservative Christians, who will almost certainly be offended. But this movie isn't for them.) This movie may not work for most people who are the same age as its characters, but it has something to offer younger viewers who are impressionable, and older viewers with a campy appreciation for cattiness.

There's something actually wholesome at the core of this story, and unlike far too many Hollywood movies of the past couple of decades, it's not a subversive or oppressive wholesomeness. There's nothing disingenuous here; just a clear lack of overall polish. But it definitely has its charms.

Here's the story: Tanner (Michael J. Willett), a refreshingly bland (if typically cute) gay high schooler who is content to keep to himself, is outed by members of his school's over-eager Gay-Straight Alliance members. There are no out kids at this high school, you see (they don't say where the school is located), and they want a token gay student to justify the alliance's existence. Meanwhile, the school's three Heathers-esque clique leaders, Fawcett (Sasha Pieterse ), Caprice (Xosha Roquemore), and 'Shley (Andrea Bowen), jump for joy at the chance to get the latest accessory: the Gay Best Friend (hence the title acronym). They all pounce, competing with each other for his attentions, which Tanner then takes away from his own closeted gay best friend, Brent (Paul Iacono). And, as luck would have it, Brent has an overbearingly supportive mom played by Megan Mullally to provide some amusing comic relief.

None of this is particularly original, although script writer George Northy does go to unusual lengths to make these characters seem slightly more than one-dimensional. G.B.F. has plenty of camp sensibility as well as plenty of heart, employing each with only intermittent finesse. It even quite openly rips off Carrie with a Prom-revenge scheme that involves a bucket of glitter instead of blood, and the whole glitter thing doesn't even make sense. Why would the one out gay kid be mortified by getting doused with glitter -- even if he does have a professed aversion to it? (Tanner is not queeny, you see. Brent is. And Brent is sick with jealousy because Tanner is unwittingly getting all the fag-hag attention.)

This movie has a few such holes in it, not least of which is Tanner's other friends shaming him for outing Brent to his mother out of spite, which of course was wrong, but not bothering to shame Brent for the integral role he played in outing Tanner to the entire school. (It involves a Grindr-like app that Brent pressures Tanner to load onto his phone.) To say this movie is uneven would be a bit of an understatement. What's even more unfortunate is that it's so common in movies like this that it's easy to feel conditioned to accept it.

Clearly the people who made this movie were having fun, though, and that's all they really want, and it is indeed fun enough. I mean, not enough for you to rush out to any theatre to see it. But you could do worse when you'll eventually find it streaming on Netflix (or "Webflix," as Brent's mom conspicuously calls it).

Self-consciousness and cattiness abound in equal measure in &apos;G.B.F.&apos;.</a>

Overall: B-
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