“G.B.F.”: Casting for a Classic


Megan Mullally (Will and Grace) lights up the screen once again with her charisma and some of the most hysterical one-liners a supportive mom could ever possibly say to her outed teenage son. In the brand new independent feature, G.B.F. (2013), Mullally is merely a side-runner, just one of the many talented actors who make up the large, outstanding cast. Yet, Mullally somehow succeeds in making every single scene she is in one of the funniest and most memorable of the entire film. Upon finding out about her son’s sexual preference, Mama Dearest invests in the ‘gay and lesbian’ section of Netflix for some mother-son bonding time. Things get pretty awkward when Mullally’s character snuggles up with her son on the couch and proceeds to comment on every scene of Brokeback Mountain (2005). The sold-out Vancity Theatre and Atrium vibrated with laughter on Wednesday night for the Vancouver Queer Film Festival’s premiere screening of Darren Stein’s most recent feature.

G.B.F. is a hilarious and colourful teen comedy that brings ‘gayness’ to the screen in an exciting new way. If you are fan of Clueless (1995) or Mean Girls (2004) you will love the similarly sassy characters, parallel plot lines, and snappy dialogue between the bitchy Queen Bea’s of G.B.F.  Jawbreaker (1999) director Darren Stein brings us another fierce and funny feature about outrageous high school girls and their rivalries, only this time, not everyone is heterosexual! The story unfolds from the point of view of a young, gay teenage boy.

The acronym G.B.F. stands for “Gay Best Friend” which has recently been deemed the hottest new fad in this Mean Girl-ish world; all the popular, catty, stiletto-wearing girlie-girls of North High need a G.B.F.! But there is one big problem: none of the gay guys at their posh suburban high school are out of the closet. The vicious lady monarchs of the school, a.k.a. the three lead prom queen candidates, are not going to let this minor glitch get in their way; a G.B.F.  is just what they need to give them that edgy, high-fashion appeal and win over the ultimate prize: the high school popularity crown.

Using the new ‘Guydar’ app (an online tracking device for gay males) the three rivals discover their very own, ‘real, live, homosexual’: a soft-spoken, slightly-geeky, but charming, closet queer, named Tanner. Then, they out him to the entire school. Even though he is nothing like the flaming-femme, fashion guru gay that they had all expected and hoped for they are in it to win it, and will fight until the prom over him just the same.

The script is crammed with jokes that range from slightly offensive and not funny at all, to mildly amusing, to snort and chuckle inducing, to full blown hurts-your-abs-so-much-you-must-run-out-of-the-theatre-to-take-a-pee kind of jokes.  There are definitely some golden lines that are pure comedic genius, but the humour is not at all consistent throughout the script and at times the jokes feel pretty damn forced. However, the uplifting themes and underlying messages of equality, acceptance, and genuine love and friendship are unmistakable and consistent throughout the film. Wherever the script lacks substance, the talented cast makes up for with sensational comedic acting. Lesbian cinema icon, Natasha Lyonne (But I’m a Cheerleader) is another member of the support cast that really shines in her small role as a crazy cat loving teacher and leader of the high school’s gay-straight alliance.

G.B.F. does a remarkable job in both adhering to and challenging the usual tropes of mainstream comedy. For instance, G.B.F. portrays some of everyone’s favourite ‘funny’ and/or offensive stereotypes in some characters, but smashes those expectations with poignant originality in others. All the while, the film manages to be self-reflexive and reveal the negative effects of pigeon-holing anyone or any group. With tight, bright, funky costumes, and a catchy up-beat soundtrack that will have your head-bopping and humming along, G.B.F. is a thoroughly enjoyable and unforgettable comedy that merges an extraordinary cast with a highly amusing and positive storyline. G.B.F. is surely on its way to becoming a well-watched classic for gay cinema everywhere, but it also holds the potential to reach the masses with its fresh, young, modern remix of the classic teen comedy.