Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Teen Comedy 'G. B. F.' is Just as Good as 'Easy A'

Easy A was a movie that I immediately fell in love with mainly because of the presence of Emma Stone.  With her throaty charm and her obvious comic timing, Stone proved that she could carry a movie all by herself.  The problem is that Easy A probably would have failed without that irresistible ginger guiding the ship.  G. B. F., the latest high school skewing clique comedy, reminded me a lot of Easy A.  Both movies feature characters that must cope with the gossip machine at their high schools.  The main difference, however, is that G. B. F. has a gay protagonist. 

Michael J. Willet stars as Tanner, a quiet, closeted high school senior who is more than happy to have his best friend Brent (Paul Iacono) come out of the closet in a big, grand fashion.  Brent is larger than life, and his mother (an adorable Megan Mullally) is more than ready for her son to sashay out of the closet and be her best friend.  Brent accidentally outs Tanner after a mixup involving a misplaced cell phone and one of those pesky gay hook up apps.  Since their high school features no out gay student, Tanner becomes the talk of the high school.

Not only is he out, but Tanner has now become the target of affection from the three reigning bitchy high school queens.  All three, Fawcett, 'Shley, and Caprice want the prom queen crown, and they think having a gay best friend (or G. B. F.) will push their votes over the top.  'Shley (Andrea Bowen) is a strict Mormon with a no-so-straight boyfriend.  Caprice (Xosha Roqumore) is always the lead in the high school musical while Fawcett (Sasha Pieterse) is your glamorous Plastic-y bitch in heels.  If I were Tanner, I would pick Caprice mainly because she played Joann in Precious, and she was my absolute favorite.  

To be honest, I thought this movie was going to be campier.  Perhaps something along the lines of the Another Gay Movie movies.  That's not a criticism.  It surprised me with its wicked humor and its heart.  G. B. F. is genuine and sweet while maintaining a fabulous sense of humor and bitchy attitude.  There aren't teen movies targeted towards gay youth that aren't dripping with bad jokes and stereotypes.  Willet and Iacono have an adorable, friendly chemistry that will remind you of your bestie from high school.  Writer George Northy allows his characters to be real and not caricatures.  There is a really nice scene between Tanner and Fawcett when Tanner realizes that Fawcett isn't just a pretty face. 

The movie dives into some topical issues, but it's not harpy about it (tales of acceptance never go out of style).  It's a small, sweet tale of friendship and realizing the friends you have will always have your back.  The cast is really great (especially gay cinema "regular" Natasha Lyonne, Mullally and Harry Potter alum Evanna Lynch) and its heart is truly in the right place.  Easy A is great, but G. B. F. is no one man show. 

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